PRATTVILLE, Ala. — Lexi Thompson is poised for an historic victory.
Thompson shot a 5-under 67 in the Navistar LPGA Classic on Saturday and is in position to become the youngest player to win an LPGA tournament.
Navistar LPGA Classic Leaderboard
1. Thompson (-15)
2. Lee (-10)
T-3. Joh (-8)
T-3. Stupples (-8)
T-3. Morgan (-8)
Thompson, who turned 16 in February, is at 15-under 201 and has a five-stroke lead heading into the final round at the Robert Trent Jones Trail’s Capitol Hill complex.
“I always go into every tournament wanting to win,” Thompson said. “I’m at 15, so my goal is to take it one shot at a time and try to get it to 20.”
Paula Creamer set the age record for a multiple-round tournament when she won the Sybase Classic in 2005 at 18 years, 9 months and 17 days. Marlene Hagge was 18 years and 14 days old when she won the single-round Sarasota Open in 1952.
Thompson, who led by two after the second round, had four consecutive birdies on Nos. 6-9 and recorded six overall Saturday. She bogeyed the par-4 18th.
“It’s incredible,” said Juli Inkster, a Hall of Famer with 31 career victories who said she started playing when she was 15. “They’re just starting younger and they’re just so much better.”
South Korea’s Meena Lee is second, and Tiffany Joh, Karen Stupples and Becky Morgan are tied for third at 8-under 208.
If Thompson wins, she will not receive automatic LPGA Tour membership because of her age. Thompson would have to petition the LPGA for an exemption of its 18-year-old age requirement.
The LPGA already granted her petition for qualifying school, and she won the first stage by 10 strikes in July.
“It’s definitely going to change my life and my career, but you just have to take it one shot at a time,” Thompson said.
Joh made the biggest move in the third round with a 65. She had nine birdies, including her final two holes, and two bogeys.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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