December 12, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Lexi Thompson leads rain-hit Meijer Classic

GRAND RAPIDS -- American Lexi Thompson, who is seeking to rebound from a playoff loss last week, fired a five-under par 64 to grab a slim lead after a rain-hit third round of the Meijer Classic on Saturday.

Thompson reached a 15-under 196 total and leads by one over a myriad of golfers including South Koreans Park Sung-Hyun, Jenny Shin, Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa, and overnight leader Brooke Henderson of Canada.

“It was just a matter of staying patient,” said Thompson, who lost to Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn in the playoff at the Manulife Classic.

“I knew I was hitting it well on the front nine, I just wasn’t making the birdies.

“But I hit it well all day, so it was all a matter of hitting the shots closer and I guess just taking advantage of No. 11, reaching that one in two, and making a few putts for birdie,” said Thompson who had six birdies and one bogey.

The golfers had to endure a two hour rain delay at the Blythefield Country Club course.

Pace dominated a course softened by rain with an eight-under 61. Park shot a 62 and Shin a 63.

Henderson, who led after each of the first two rounds, fell out of first place after a second-round 67 but remained within striking distance of her first win of 2017.

The course was reduced to a par 69 after heavy rains turned the par-five fifth hole into a par three because of pools of water.

Pace, 36, began the day at two under but picked up five shots on the front nine with three birdies and an eagle. After a bogey to start the back nine, she made another eagle at 11.

“I played really nicely,” said Pace. “My irons were really good. I was looking at birdie on almost every hole, which was nice.” -- AFP