Lexi Thompson graceful in defeat
Although her sunglasses hid some tears of disappointment as Thompson left the 18th green after the playoff concluded, she still took some positives away from the week.
“I just struggled with the putter,” she admitted. “I made everything seemed like all week, and then just two last putts I guess on the last two holes -- actually last three holes. I had like a five-footer, six-footer, and about a four-footer and missed them all. If I made those I would've won, but that's golf I guess.”
Thompson was in a prime position on the 72nd hole of the tournament in regulation after smashing her drive to within a half-wedge distance. She hit a poor approach, by her own admission, and then missed a four-footer that would have sealed the deal. She ended up in the same place in the playoff and couldn’t convert.
“Just my pitching has been a little rough and I've just been hitting it short a lot. Just didn't commit to it. I was in between numbers, and with the wind and knowing that you have to stop it really quick, just didn't commit. That's all,” she explained.
Although this will go down as her second playoff loss of the season, Thompson said she will get over it within a day or so. And, she’s confident another win is coming soon.
“I know with where my game is at, every time I tee it up I know I'm trying to win and I know I have a good chance of it,” she said.
Ariya Jutanugarn captures her first title of the year
Ariya Jutanugarn didn’t expect to be in the winner’s circle Sunday, admitting she had had problems with her driver all week.
But anything can happen in golf, and it usually does.
Jutanugarn, who won five times last year, notched her first win of the year Sunday at Whistle Bear thanks to rolling in 25-foot putt on the first playoff hole, winning by a shot over In Gee Chun and Lexi Thompson.
“I just can't believe I win the tournament. I didn't expect anything at all, because like when I got here I didn't feel comfortable with my swing. I didn't feel like -- my tee shots (were) not that good,” she said. “It's like surprise for me. I never think I can win here.”
Getting to about the halfway point of the season without a win, Jutanugarn was happy to finally get one under her belt in 2017
“Feel great. Feel like I breakthrough,” she said with a smile. “I feel like I (had to) wait for my first win this year for a while.“
Brooke Henderson finishes as Low Canadian
It wasn’t quite the finish Brooke Henderson wanted, but with her tie for 11th result, she was the low Canadian of the week.
Henderson made six bogeys Sunday, but had five birdies and an eagle to get it to 1-under par for the day. It’s her seventh top-15 finish of the year.
“It took a lot of patience out there and a lot of consistency with your shots. You know, I did that pretty well. Obviously a little bit disappointed. But tied for 11th, I can't complain too much,” said Henderson. “I feel like my game is so close to being so, so great”
The 19-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ontario (about five hours from Whistle Bear Golf Club), admitted she’s gone through ‘five or six’ putters this year to try to find the right one.
“I'm searching. A lot of golfers switch all the time. Just trying to find that spark,” said Henderson. “A little bit of a lesson, but hopefully I'll find something here in the next few weeks because this is kind of the best part of our season with four majors coming up pretty soon.”
In Gee Chun admits she’s ‘close’ with her swing
After a fourth runner-up finish on the season, In Gee Chun, with her trademark smile, said she was close with a swing she re-tooled in the offseason.
“During the wintertime I changed my swing (a little bit). I think I’m almost there. Everything is good,” she said.
Chun made two bogeys but was off-set with four birdies, including two late in her round, on the par-4 15th and the par-5 16th. Paired with eventual winner Ariya Jutanugarn, Chun said she had a great time playing together.
“It was a good experience for today,” she explained. “She’s a very great person. I’m always happy with her.”
Alison Lee notches season-best finish, heads to graduation
It was bittersweet for Alison Lee, her final tournament before graduating from UCLA, but she made the most of it this week at the Manulife LPGA Classic, locking up her best finish of 2017, a tie for 22nd.
Lee started with three-straight birdies Sunday but just couldn’t get anything going after that.
“Starting off the bat it was really windy and I was really happy with my three birdies because the first three holes played pretty tough. But I just couldn't get it going (after that),” she said. “I gave myself a couple chances throughout the rest of the round. I just couldn't follow through.“
Lee’s previous best finish was a tie for 24th at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She was happy overall with her week and said it will be a confidence booster heading into the rest of the season and the Solheim Cup, which she said is on her radar.
And as far as her graduation, happening next Thursday?
“Oh, I’m going to be crying for sure,” she said with a smile.