LAS VEGAS — Lexi Thompson was pouring in putts from everywhere Friday and was on the verge of making the cut in the Shriners Children’s Open. Two late bogeys were likely to give her the weekend off.
Thompson missed a 6-foot birdie putt on her final hole at the TPC Summerlin and had to settle for a 2-under 69, leaving her at least one shot outside the cutline in her bid to become the first woman in 78 years to make a 36-hole cut on the PGA Tour.
Her 69 was one short of the record by a female on the PGA Tour – Michelle Wie twice shot 68 in the Sony Open, once as a 14-year-old when she missed the cut by one shot. Her score-to-par of -2 ties Wie’s second rounds at the 2004 and 2006 Sony Open in Hawaii for the lowest by a woman in a round in PGA Tour history, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
“I knew I had to play my ‘A’ game,” Thompson said, adding that golf was only part of her being in Las Vegas. “Just coming into the week there was more of a message than just playing golf. To inspire the kids, that’s what I enjoy most.”
Thompson looked as though she might be around for all four days.
She finished the opening round, which had been suspended by darkness, by missing a 20-foot par putt on the 17th hole and making par on the 18th for a 73. Then, she began her second nine with a bogey on the 10th hole.
And then the 28-year-old American came to life. She stuffed her approach to 4 feet on the 11th for a birdie. She was just off the green on the par-5 13th and took two putts for birdie. She drove the 296-yard 15th green for a two-putt birdie.
Thompson made the turn and promptly holed a birdie putt from just inside 25 feet for birdie, and then she poured in a birdie putt from just inside 30 feet.
She was 4 under for the round through 11 holes, and 2 under for the tournament.
It all changed with one swing – and one smart decision. Her tee shot on the par-3 fifth was well to the right into the native area, the pin toward the right side of the green. Instead of taking a big risk by trying to hit out of the desert, she took a penalty drop for a clean lie 98 yards from the hole and hit wedge to 5 feet to escape with bogey.
Her hopes faded on the long par-3 eighth. She went just over the green, chipped weakly to 12 feet and missed the par putt.
She finished at even-par 142. The cut was at 1 under when she walked off the ninth green, but already was at 2 under after she had signed her card. Scoring conditions were ideal, and with half the 132-player field still on the course, the cut was not expected to come back.
Thompson was the seventh woman to play on the PGA Tour. Babe Didrikson Zaharias was the last to make a 36-hole cut in 1945.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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