Thompson fires 3-under 69 to retain Navistar lead

Lexi Thompson during the second round of the Navistar LPGA Classic.

PRATTVILLE, Ala. – Never underestimate the power of positive thinking. Lexi Thompson’s putting at the Kingsmill Championship two weeks ago was, at times, painful to watch. And this wasn’t the first time.

If she couldn’t putt fearlessly as a rookie, drawing on the strength of a shallow memory bank, would she ever live up to her potential?

Perhaps she just needed a touch of Southern comfort. Thompson returned this week to the site of last year’s historic victory at the Navistar LPGA Classic and picked up where she left off. There’s restored faith in the Odyssey White Hot XG 330 Mallet she has used for the past five years: Thompson shot 9-under 63 with 26 putts in her opening round. She followed that with a 69 to hold a one-shot lead over Mi Jung Hur and Mindy Kim.

“It’s all about confidence, really – just getting up to it and saying to yourself you’re going to make the putt,” Thompson said.

Brittany Lincicome and Yani Tseng, Thompson’s playing competitors, wished she would’ve shared the wealth. As Lincicome noted, the RTJ Senator Course at Capitol Hill is a long hitter’s course, perfect for right-to-left ball-shapers. Thompson made only one bogey in 36 holes.

Thompson isn’t relying only on talent to take her back to the winner’s circle this week. She has added in a little superstition, as well. While Tseng likes to feast on an IHOP breakfast before late tee times, Thompson is fond of the Waffle House down the street from the Senator Course. She frequented there so often last year that the head cook, Valerie Perry, rearranged her vacation schedule to make sure she was here for Thompson’s return.

Earlier in the week, the restaurant painted Lexi’s name on the windows in large block letters. Inside, she feasts on egg whites, wheat toast, hash browns and bacon. For the most part, Thompson frequents Waffle House only when she’s here in Prattville, just northwest of Montgomery.

While Thompson’s gallery was sparse on the golf course, she likely will perform before a larger crowd Friday night at a local football game. Thompson will do the coin toss to kick off the festivities, and she’ll be rooting for Prattville High School, even though the opponent is Thompson High School.

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SHE'S AN ACE: Brittany Lincicome recorded her second ace of the year. She hit a wedge from 130 yards on the par-3 16th, and when it found the bottom of the cup, Lincicome turned to a nearby rules official and said “Hey, call the tournament director and tell him I want the tank delivered to my house.”

An armed guard stood by the MRAP (mine-resistant ambush protected) vehicle that sat behind the 16th green. Because Lincicome has never won a car for any of her three aces on tour, she thought she’d try for the armored vehicle. Navistar builds the armored vehicles for U.S. military in the Middle East.

Earlier in the week, Lincicome met with an instructor for the first time in four years. She followed the lead of good friend Stacy Lewis in choosing Joe Hallett. Lewis and Hallett have made substantial strides in Lewis’ swing over the last two years. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh set of set of eyes.

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SHORT SHOTS: A trio of popular Americans chose to take the week off. Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel are absent from Alabama. Creamer tweeted that she was heading to Italy after the Ricoh Women’s British Open for her first vacation in more than a dozen years. … Rookie Danielle Kang’s golf bag was delivered 50 minutes before her tee time on Thursday. She shot 72-72.

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