BRADENTON, Fla. — Florida native Lexi Thompson is in the mix heading into the weekend at the LPGA Drive On Championship, backing up her first-round 71 with a 4-under 67 on Friday at Bradenton Country Club, a round that saw her make one bogey and five birdies.
The 28-year-old got the party started quickly, making birdie on her first hole of the day and then picking up another birdie on the par-4 4th hole. She birdied again on No. 6, dropping a shot after making bogey on the par-3 9th hole to turn in 34.
The 11-time LPGA Tour winner recovered quickly, making back-to-back birdies on the 10th and 11th holes, but Thompson couldn’t keep that pace up in the closing stretch, recording seven straight pars to finish out her 4-under round and sit at 5-under overall with 36 holes to play in Bradenton, Fla.
“Today overall went very well. I've been working really hard on my ball striking,” said Thompson, who hit eight of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens on day two at the LPGA Drive On Championship. “I've been tweaking a few things here and there, so coming into the week, I knew I had to really commit to those few things. I know I might hit a few bad shots here and there, but I know I'm working on the right things, and I keep it going out there. Today was a good day, so hopefully, bring it into the weekend.”
This week marks the first time that Thompson has opened with two under-par rounds since the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G last September, where she ultimately finished in a tie for eighth. While the 2023 season wasn’t really what Thompson was looking for from her 12th year on the LPGA Tour, she battled back late in the season, finishing inside the top 20 in her last four events of the year, positive momentum she has continued to ride into her season debut.
Now, Thompson is in contention with 36 more holes on tap at Bradenton Country Club, currently sitting in a tie for ninth, five shots back of second-round leader Nelly Korda. And with her 12th LPGA Tour title dangling just within reach once again, Thompson will work hard to stick to her processes over the weekend at the LPGA Drive On Championship as she tries to recreate the magic she found on Friday in Southwest Florida.
“Going into this weekend, it's a golf course, yes, you could make birdies. But some of the holes, you just take your pars and run,” said Thompson of the challenging Donald Ross design. “It's not like I'm going to attack each and every pin out there. It's placement golf, really. For me, just focus on the things I've been working on and continue to improve on that and be more and more confident each time I set foot out on the golf course. That's all I can do. See what happens in the result.”