Lexi Thompson gets lucky number seven in Thailand.
Thompson captured her seventh career win on the LPGA Tour on Sunday at the Honda LPGA Thailand. With her victory, Thompson became not only the first American to win in the event’s 10 year history, but is also expected to overtake Stacy Lewis as the top-ranked American in the world.
Entering the week, world No.4 Thompson was projected to replace Lewis as world No.3 should she win and Lewis finish in a tie for second or worse. Lewis, who has held the top spot for the past 195 weeks, finished T-35 in Thailand. Thompson would become just the sixth player to own the title of top-ranked American since the inception of the women’s rankings in 2006.
"It means the world to me. I'm out here not only representing myself but representing my country being an American, and this being a huge year with the Olympics," Thompson said. "But I'm just trying to focus on my own game, not anybody else's. Just trying to do my best and I'm very grateful for the opportunity that I'm out here following my dreams, honestly."
The 21-year-old took command early in the week with an opening round 8-under par, 64 to take the outright lead in round one. Despite scrambling to a second round even par, 72, Thompson cruised on the weekend, posting 64 again on Saturday to take a four stroke lead entering the final round and closing with a 4-under par, 68 to win by six-strokes ahead of In Gee Chun.
In many ways, Thompson put on the best performance of her career this week in Thailand, posting her lowest winning score on Tour at 20-under par for the championship with a six-stroke victory, her largest margin of victory on Tour. Her win in Thailand marks her third victory since July, having won twice in 2015 at the Meijer LPGA Classic and LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship.
Reigning U.S. Women’s Open Champion In Gee Chun was best positioned to chase down Thompson on Sunday, four-strokes back in solo second to start the day. She mounted an early charge on Sunday, making birdie on her first three holes to pull within one of Thompson. But four bogeys and a double bogey at the par 4, 17th hole gave Thompson a commanding seven-stroke lead coming to the 72nd hole.
Chun finished with a birdie at the last to card a final round 2-under par, 70 to finish solo second at 14-under par. The rookie has yet to finish outside the top-3 in 2016, posting a T-3 in her only other start this season at the Coates Golf Championship.
Jessica Korda finished the week T-3 at 13-under par. Korda was T-2 entering the third round in Thailand, but a triple bogey at the par 5, 18th hole on Saturday dropped her out of the top-10 to 5-under par and 11-strokes back of Thompson. But Korda bounced back on Sunday, matching Thompson for low round of the week with a final round, bogey-free 8-under par, 64.
“Yeah, it would have been nice to not shoot 3-over yesterday and end up pulling myself totally out of the tournament, but it's a good redemption around for sure,” Korda said after her round. “I proved there was not going to be a charge big enough to catch that lead. I was 11-shots out starting the day. I just wanted to get myself in the top 10 and get a good feel for next week, that's really it.”
Defending champion Amy Yang finished T-3 with Korda at 13-under par for the championship. Last week’s winner Haru Nomura and Chella Choi round out the top-5 at 11-under par for the week.