Dec 19th, 2020
Ko takes lead in LPGA finale
World number leads CME Group Tour Championship at halfway mark
Photography: Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Ko hit all fourteen fairways in her bogey-free round which included five birdies, four of them on her back nine. Playing in only her fourth LPGA Tour event of 2020, Ko said the chilly conditions reminded her of mornings in Dallas and Houston the past two weeks, but she still felt comfortable with her game in Naples, Florida.
“Before, when I play in KLPGA, it was really cold, so I hate cold weather to play golf, but right now I love it,” said Ko.
One stroke back of the six-time LPGA Tour winner is two who are two of the usual suspects when it comes to the Tour’s season finale: defending champion Sei Young Kim and 2018 champion Lexi Thompson.
Kim started well with four birdies in her first five holes but faltered before the turn with bogeys on the 7th and 9th holes. She found a birdie on the 14th hole to post her second-straight sub-seventy round of 69.
Overnight leader Thompson also rebounded after a poor front nine with back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th. Lexi was round in a one-under 71, the sixteenth consecutive under-par round at Tiburon.
“It feels very solid in the morning because we got the strong wind, but my shot really solid. After I had four birdies, I feel like it's not good. Yeah, it feel like getting it's not used to,” said Kim.
“So I had two bogeys and I had few missed shots, and then I try to, yeah, just relax and got me back on normal feel. So, I was able to finish it normal.”
“It was different conditions today of course, with the cooler weather in the morning, and I would say overall it was a lot breezier throughout the day. But it was nice out. Definitely can't beat it. It's not raining, so that's always nice,” said Thompson.
LEXI THOMPSON EXCLUSIVE PHOTO SHOOT
“It was a little bit of an up and down day. I thought I struck it really well on the front nine. I got a few bad breaks with a few ridges on the greens, but you can get that on this golf course.”
Behind Kim and Thompson is Australian Hannah Green, whose 68 on Friday was enough to keep her in solo fourth on six-under. Green is followed by six players in a tie for fifth, including Florida native Nelly Korda and England's Georgia Hall.
Korda, who tied for third at last year's CME Group Tour Championship, pulled together a six-under 66 to add to her opening round of 72, carding seven birdies on the day.
Hall posted another three-under round of 69 which included four birdies and just one dropped shot to share the fifth spot. Hall's countrywoman Charley Hull matched her with a round of 69 whihc moved her up to three-under for the tournament, joint sixteenth.
The round of the day came from 2014 champion Lydia Ko, who recorded a seven-under 65, three shots off the tournament’s 18-hole scoring record of 62 that she set back in 2016.