Thompson, 15, in contention at Oakmont
Sunday, January 23, 2011
OAKMONT, Pa. – Can Alexis Thompson win the U.S. Women’s Open on Sunday? Her father/caddie, Scott, thinks so. And after an impressive round Saturday, she’ll have a chance at history at Oakmont.
“I’d be a liar if I (said) I haven’t ever thought about it,” he said. “I know she can. If I get her ‘A’ game out there, I know she can contend.”
U.S. Women’s Open (Saturday)
Images from the second and third rounds of the U.S. Women's Open at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club.
Thompson’s third-round 70 was the only under-par score among the 30-plus players that finished their third round. Thompson is the only player in the top 10 that’s completed 54 holes.
The clubhouse is a great place to start a charge at the U.S. Open. Thompson, in a tie for fourth at 4-over par, will likely move up the leaderboard Sunday morning as others complete their third rounds.
The third round will resume at 8 a.m. Sunday. Paula Creamer is at 1-under par for the tournament with five holes remaining in her third round. Wendy Ward (2 over with one hole remaining) and Suzann Pettersen (3 over with four holes remaining) are the only other players ahead of Thompson. Thompson will be in one of the final groups, likely the second-to-last group.
“I have nothing to lose out there,” Thompson said about the final round. “But I’m just going to try and have fun tomorrow and play my game.”
Thompson beat her Saturday playing partners, Ai Miyazato (80) and Jiyai Shin (72), both of whom have been No. 1 in the world rankings this year.
Sunday will be new territory for the newly-minted pro. This is her first made cut as a pro – she missed the cut in her pro debut at the ShopRite LPGA Classic – and the highest she’s been on a leaderboard with one round remaining in an LPGA event.
A U.S. Women’s Open victory would come just two years after her U.S. Girls’ Junior victory, and make her the youngest U.S. Women’s Open champ by more than 4 years.
Thompson’s day got off to an ugly start. She popped up her 3-wood tee shot, hitting it only 170 yards, calling the shot “embarassing.” She hit her second shot to the front of green, but her birdie putt from about 40 feet caught a ridge and rolled 30 feet away. She left the par putt 7 feet short, but made the bogey putt.
She didn’t make another bogey until the 18th, when her tee shot caught the right side of a fairway bunker and bounced in the trap. She laid up, then hit her lengthy third shot about 15 feet above the hole. Her par putt just missed the hole and she tapped in for bogey.
“I was trying to trust my swing and not steering it around the golf course, like I sometimes do when I get a little nervous,” she said.
Thompson made three birdies in between her bogeys. She made a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-3 eighth, a 40-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th and a 15-footer on the driveable par-4 17th after draw a tough lie in the greenside fringe.
Thompson may be just 15 but is second in the field in driving distance (276.7 yards per tee shot) and has the strength to hold Oakmont’s greens from the rough. She’s tied for 57th among those that made the cut in fairways hit (22 of 42), but tied for 14th in greens in regulation (38 of 54).