Prattville, AL (Sports Network) - Defending champion Lexi Thompson fired a 9-
under 63 on Thursday to grab a 2-shot lead after the opening round of the
Navistar LPGA Classic.
Thompson, who cruised to a 5-stroke win on The Senator Course last year,
carded a career-low round that matched the tournament's 18-hole scoring
"My record was 65 here before, so I'm pretty excited about this golf course,"
said Thompson, who shot 65 as a 14-year-old in 2009. "But the whole day, I was
just really consistent. I think I hit 17 greens and dropped a good amount of
putts, but it gave me a lot of confidence."
Hee Young Park and Lizette Salas, who were in the final two groups of the
morning wave, both shot 7-under 65 and are tied for second.
World No. 3 Stacy Lewis posted a 6-under 66 and was joined in fourth place by
Karen Stupples, Mi Hyang Lee, Wendy Ward and Amanda Blumenherst.
Thompson was on fire right from the start. She got going with a birdie on the
first. She converted a birdie effort on the par-4 fourth and followed with
birdies at five and six to quickly get to minus-4.
The 17-year-old picked up one final birdie on her front side as she birdied
the ninth. Thompson made it two in a row at 10.
Thompson had an outside shot at shooting 59 after being 6-under after 10
holes, but she parred four of her next five holes.
In the midst of those pars, she birdied the par-3 13th. Thompson also birdied
the par-3 16th and followed with another birdie on the par-5 17th. She parred
the last to lead by two.
"I'm really comfortable out here. I hit a lot of drivers and take pretty
aggressive lines," Thompson stated. "It definitely rewards good shots out here
and that's what I like. Build up your confidence and just try to make
Salas was the first of the two in second place to shoot 65. She flew out of
the gate with three birdies in the first four holes, but then stumbled to
bogeys at five and six.
After a par on seven, Salas ran off four birdies in a 5-hole span from the
eighth to jump to 5-under. She birdied 14 and 15 to move to minus-7, then
parred the last three holes.
"The whole goal this week is to stay in the fairway and just stay out of
trouble and hit fairways and greens all day," Salas explained. "And my wedge
game was really good today and I rolled in the putts that I needed to, and I
occasionally dropped in a couple of long ones and I got up and down when I
Park spread her seven birdies out. She birdied the first, fourth, sixth and
eighth to make the turn at minus-4. Park birdied 11, 14 and 17 to grab a share
of second place.
NOTES: Stacy Prammanasudh first set the course record of 63 in 2007 and that
number was matched six other times prior to today ... Salas is one of four
rookies in the top 10 on the leaderboard ... Lee is 153rd on the money list
and has the most work to do among those near the top of the leaderboard to
keep her tour card for 2013.
The Sports Network