Thompson maintains her 3-shot lead after three rounds at Kingsmill

Dave Johnson
Contact Reporterdjohnson@dailypress.com
Lexi Thompson maintains her 3-shot lead in the Kingsmill Championship.

JAMES CITY — As expected, the temperatures dropped from the 90s in the first two rounds to the 70s on Saturday. Perhaps just as predictable, Lexi Thompson’s game stayed the same.

With a third-round 69 that could have been better, Thompson maintained her 3-shot lead in the Kingsmill Championship at 14-under par. In Gee Chun’s 67 moved her into second place at 11-under. Sei Young Kim, Minjee Lee and Lydia Ko are tied for third at 9-under.

“I played very well today,” Thompson said. “Pretty solid. I just was all over the lips today on the greens.

“But I put some good strokes on a lot of my putts, so that's all that matters. Hopefully, I’ll bring that into tomorrow.”

Gerina Piller, who began the day in second place after rounds of 66-67, bogeyed three holes on the back nine and finished at 74. It was the second consecutive tournament she shot 3-over or worse in the third round.

Thompson, whose two-day total of 130 was the best at Kingsmill since 2012, missed some early chances that would have created further distance. She birdied Nos. 9, 13 and 15 before making bogey — her first in 44 holes — on No. 17.

Chun, who started five shots behind Thompson, birdied four of her first seven holes. She had a chance on No. 9 to tie for the lead but missed a 6-foot putt.

She stayed at 4-under for the day with two birdies and two bogeys on the back nine.

“I had a great round today,” Chun said. “Lexi has played really well this week, (and) I know my swing feel was not perfect. But I try to keep going and then see where I am later.”

After matching 69s in the first two rounds, Kim was 1-over after four holes. But an eagle on the par-5 7th hole got her going.

“(There) was a little downwind, and then I had 162 meter to the pin,” said Kim, who won the Lorena Ochoa Match Play two weekends ago. “It was very short.

" hit the 5-iron and I tried to go to the right of the pin. So, yeah, it was right — the hitting, it was good.”

Lee’s third-round 67, capped with a birdie on No. 18, put her in contention. In 11 rounds at Kingsmill, she has shot in the 60s nine times.

“Obviously, it’s a challenging golf course,” she said. “The conditions, I haven’t seen them better in the last two years I played here. I just really like the course because it’s so challenging and it tests all parts of my game.

“I was pretty solid all the way around. And I’m happy with that.”

Lee was 1-under for the day after the front nine but then made birdies on Nos. 11, 12 and 14. After a bogey on the par-5 15th, she birdied No. 18 after her tee shot landed just on the front edge of the green.

Of the previous 12 LPGA tournaments at Kingsmill, the third-round leader has gone on to win the championship eight times. In 2012, Paula Creamer led after three rounds but ended up losing in a Monday playoff to Jiyai Shin.

Thompson is bidding to become only the second player to win here wire-to-wire — Karrie Webb did it in 2006. But her approach won’t change.

“Same mindset as the last three days,” she said. “All I'm focusing on is my own game and sticking to my routine and committing to my lines off the tees. And just having fun with my caddie in between shots.”

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