SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Lexi Thompson fired five birdies without a bogey in a sparkling round on the Olympic Club Lake Course yesterday to grab a one-shot lead in the US Women’s Open.
The American’s five-under par 66 on the imposing layout gave her a 54-hole total of seven-under par 64 and a one-stroke edge over second-round leader Yuka Saso of the Philippines.
Saso, a 19-year-old whose pro resume features two wins on the Japan LPGA tour, scrambled to an even par 71 for 207 – leading by as many as two but dropping out of a share of the lead with her fourth bogey of the day at 18.
US amateur Megha Ganne, a 17-year-old New Jersey high school student, kept herself in contention with a one-over par 72 that left her sharing third on 210 with South Korean Lee Jeong-eun, who battled her way to a two-over 73.
China’s Feng Shanshan was alone in fifth after a 72 for 211.
Thompson was the first player to post a bogey-free round this week at Olympic Club, which has hosted five men’s US Opens but had never before hosted a women’s major.
The 2014 ANA Inspiration winner is seeking a first US Open title in her 15th attempt. She first competed in the championship as a 12-year-old amateur in 2007.
“Honestly, I just thought my patience of being out there,” Thompson said of the key to her lowest career round in a US Open.
“I struck it well all day, made a few good putts out there. And I guess probably just picking up the missed fairways or missed greens when I did, getting up-and-down or just getting it as far as I could out of that rough.
“It’s all about patience out on this golf course.”
Thompson climbed the leaderboard with three birdies on the front nine. She curled in a long birdie putt at the 14th and had the solo lead at seven-under after a birdie at 17 – where she tapped in after narrowly missing her eagle attempt.
Saso, who had opened the door to Thompson with bogeys at the 13th and 14th, regained a share of the lead when she got up and down for birdie at the 17th.
But she was unable to do the same at the last.