Dec 18th, 2020
Lexi leads CME Group Tour Championship
American makes a statement in her home state
Photography: Michael Reaves/Getty Images
The 2018 champion of the LPGA Tour’s season finale got off to a great start with five birdies through her first seven holes, and after a solitary bogey on the 9th hole, Thompson rebounded with birdies with three birdies in the last seven holes to take the solo lead heading into the second round.
“It was great just being out here. I love coming to Naples. It is definitely one of my favourite events,” said Thompson, whose 65 is her lowest 18-hole score of 2020.
“It's a lot different now just not having my whole group of family that always come this week, but we're just happy to be playing this week and my brother and I had a lot of fun.”
Thompson has recorded four top-six finishes in six starts at this event and has averaged 2.58 strokes under par per round since 2014 at the CME Group Tour Championship.
Thompson has her brother, Korn Ferry Tour player Curtis Thompson, back on the bag after he last caddied for her at the Pelican Women’s Championship presented by DEX Imaging and Konica Minolta, where she finished in a tie for twenty-seventh. Curtis also caddied two years ago in Naples, when Lexi claimed her 10th career victory.
“It's great to have him on the bag. I always cherish every opportunity we get to spend together. But to have him out there, he's always joking and keeping me loose,” said Thompson.
“Obviously playing great helps. Always keeps a smile on the face. I just wanted to go into this week and just play relaxed golf. I've been stressing a lot just trying to get my game where I think it should be, but instead I just went out and tried to have fun with my brother on the bag.”
Sitting in solo second is Nanna Koerstz Madsen, who recorded one of four bogey-free rounds at Tiburon Golf Club on Thursday. Starting on the back nine, Koerstz Madsen recorded six birdies, including five of them in six holes from the 15th tee. This is only her second appearance in the Tour Championship,
“I feel good. I was a little shaky on my driver going into the event, and putting as well actually. So now it is always nice to start off with a good round,” said Koerstz Madsen.
“I don't have any expectations. I just want to go out and play and see if I can do good mentally.”
Three players sit in a tie for third at five-under: Caroline Masson, Megan Khang, and defending champion Sei Young Kim. Rounding out the top-10 is six players in a tie for sixth, including 2014 champion Cristie Kerr and Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko, who played her way into this event through just three tournaments in 2020 starting at the Pelican Women’s Championship.
England's Georgia Hall opened with a three-under 69 to sit in joint twelfth one shot ahead of countrywomen Jodie Ewart Shadoff and Stephanie Meadow.