Shriners Children’s Open second round
-12 C Champ (US), L Griffin (US); -11 H Norlander (Swe); -10 N Taylor (Can), JT Poston (US); -9; A Noren (Swe)
Selected others: -7; M Wallace (Eng), N Hojgaard (Den); -5 A Rai (Eng); -4 L Aberg (Swe); E L Thompson (US); +2 R Knox (Sco)
Lexi Thompson’s captivating PGA Tour debut fell just short of making the cut despite her impressive two-under 69 in the second round of the Shriners Children’s Open. Thompson, a star from the US Solheim Cup team, aimed to become the first woman since 1945 to make the cut at a PGA Tour event, but finished three strokes away from qualification in Las Vegas.
The 28-year-old Thompson showcased her talent by notching up five birdies, recovering superbly after a disappointing two-over 73 in the tournament’s opening round. However, two dropped shots in her final five holes ultimately dashed her hopes.
“It’s an amazing feeling not only to have my parents out here to support me, but just to be able to come here and follow my dreams is something I have wanted to do since playing against my brothers growing up,” said Thompson.
“All the guys were so welcoming. It’s the best feeling just seeing the amount of kids out there screaming ‘Lexi, Lexi, go Lexi.’ It makes me tear up sometimes because that is what I play for, to inspire these little kids.
“No added pressure. Of course, making the cut was a goal, but I knew I had to bring my A game.”
American golfers Lanto Griffin and Cameron Champ share the lead at 12 under after impressive second rounds of 66 and 67, respectively. Thompson, participating as a sponsor’s exemption, drew huge crowds and generated significant interest, despite her chances being further hindered by an opening bogey on the 10th hole.
However, Thompson’s strong performance on the course, including a drive that reached the green on the 296-yard par-four 15th, gave her a shot at matching Babe Didrikson Zaharias’ feat from 78 years ago. She also became the second female player, after Michelle Wie West, to score lower than 70 on the PGA Tour. A six-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole would have secured her a score of 68, equaling Wie West’s best rounds at the Sony Open in 2004 and 2006.
“I knew there were some difficult holes out there, and I had to take advantage of the few birdie opportunities, like the par fives,” added Thompson, who found success with her drives, hitting 20 out of 28 fairways over the first two rounds.
“But coming into the week, there was a bigger message than just playing golf, and that’s what I enjoy the most – inspiring the kids.”
Sweden’s Henrik Norlander sits one stroke behind the leaders going into the weekend, following a seven-under 67 in his second round. Nick Taylor from Canada and JT Poston of the US are one shot behind Norlander. Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard, a member of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team, is seven under and tied with England’s Matt Wallace.
Another member of the Ryder Cup-winning team, Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg, finished the second round four-under-par after carding a second consecutive round of 69.
Daniel Miller takes readers to the greens with his passion for golf. He offers coverage of major golf tournaments, player achievements, and insights into the sport’s rich history, making him a trusted source for golf enthusiasts.