“I really didn't feel like I hit any bad golf shots. That's what this golf course can do to you.”
With a front-nine 34 and a five-stroke lead, it looked like Lexi Thompson would run away with her first U.S. Women’s Open title. But with a back-nine 41, it all vanished. Thompson, who opened the day with a one-stroke lead over eventual champion Yuka Saso, double-bogeyed No. 11 with her first three-putt of the week. She dropped another shot at No. 14 and had to hack out from the deep left round on No. 17, leading to yet another bogey.
“I didn't hit a bad drive. The wind just never got it and then it tried to bounce right, and I've never seen a lie that bad,” said Thompson. “That's what this course can do. Just got the wind wrong on a few shots coming in.”
Heading to the 18th tee with her lead completely evaporated, Thompson put her approach into the front bunker. After blasting out past the hole, she sent her par attempt long to miss a playoff by one heartbreaking stroke.
Thompson, who always wears her heart on her sleeve, was understandably upset after her round. But the ultimate competitor is also working to find the ultimate peace in the highs and lows that this game all too often brings to those who love it.
“It's hard to smile, but, I mean, it was an amazing week. Yeah, I played not so good today with a few of the bogeys coming in on the back nine, but the fans were unbelievable, hearing the chants and just gives me a reason to play,” said Thompson. “It was just an unbelievable feeling to be out here and play this golf course. I've never been out here, so it was a blessing, and I'll take today and I'll learn from it and have a lot more weeks ahead, a lot more years. I have a tournament next week, so we'll take it from here.”