Lexi Thompson Battles Injury, Leads Meijer
Coming off a relatively disappointing tied for 22nd at the Women’s PGA Championship last week, Lexi Thompson entered the Meijer LPGA Classic this week looking to repeat as champion. The 21-year old has a win this season at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February, but has battling a lower back injury recently, which would come into play in round two on Friday.
Thompson began her quest for repeat in perfect fashion, recording an eagle on the first hole in round one. She followed with birdies on three, four, five and eight, finishing the front nine with a six under par 30. Thompson cooled off on the back nine, recording all pars and a very solid opening round of 65, putting her in a three-way tie for the lead with Carlota Ciganda and Sei Young Kim.
Looking to pull ahead on Friday, Lexi Thompson birdied the third and fifth to move to eight under par. On her second shot on the uphill par four seventh, there was a noticeable irritation to her lower back following her swing, as she grimaced and clutched the left side of her lower back. The back issue clearly bothered Thompson the rest of the way. Battling through it, she birdied eight and ten, but the problem became increasingly apparent later in the round.
Thompson blocked a few tee shots to the right, clearly favoring the back and appearing to be afraid to complete the swing with full force, knowing a shot of pain would soon follow. She bogeyed fifteen and sixteen and looked as though she was just ready to get to the clubhouse. But Lexi Thompson, the premiere athlete that she is, refused to back down and grinded her way to birdies at seventeen and eighteen to finish with a round of 67 and a two round total of ten under par, leading the Meijer at the halfway point.
There is plenty of competition for Thompson, as Alena Sharp, Kyu-Young Baek, In Gee Chun and So-Yoen Ryu are only a shot back. Seven players sit at two shots back and six lurk at three shots back, including number one player Lydia Ko and last week’s winner Brooke Henderson.
Should Lexi Thompson seal the victory this weekend, it’ll er her eighth LPGA win and the fifth this season with multiple wins on tour.