Lexi comfortable among the men


Poor light cut short Lexi Thompson’s day on the golf course on Thursday afternoon, but before the Yank had to call a halt, there were enough rays of light so that this women’s star did not appear out of place in the company of the men.

Thompson, eleven-time winner on the women’s LPGA Series, is competing in the PGA Series’ Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas this week.

The 28-year-old major champion had to put away her clubs on the 17th green on the TPC Summerlin course when poor light brought an early end to the first round of the tournament on the US West Coast.

Thompson’s score was +1 at that stage, with the popular golf star from Florida in danger of giving up another stroke at the penultimate hole. She needed a putt of about seven meters to save the tie.

“I didn’t play too badly, but I didn’t exactly take care of fireworks either.

“A few bad shots cost me dearly, but that happens any day at any time and in any company.

“I was at ease and didn’t feel out of place among the men,” Thompson said after the day’s play.

She currently holds the joint 76th position out of 132 participants. Only the top 65 players qualify for the last 36 holes.

While all eyes were on Thompson, Beau Hossler quietly put in a great performance and took the lead with a score of 62 (-9).

He is chased by JT Poston and Cameron Champ at 63, with Lanto Griffin and Davis Thompson at 64 the next players at the top of the leaderboard.

Erik van Rooyen (70) and Christiaan Bezuidenhout (71) displayed the best of the SA players.

* In Madrid, Jon Rahm is aiming for his second consecutive Spanish Open title and the reigning US Masters champion kicked off his campaign with a solid 67 (-4).

Rahm, ranked third in the world, has dominated the Club de Campo course for three of the last four years and was satisfied with his play after the first round.

“I could do better, but I’m not complaining. I like the course and am in a solid position after the first 18 holes. Now I can put my foot down and see what happens,” said the Spanish star afterwards.

The leader after day one is the Frenchman Matthieu Pavon on 63 (-8).

He finished second behind Rahm last year and it can be assumed that he will want to be one step higher on the podium on Sunday.

Pavon is followed by Will Besseling of the Netherlands (64), with Englishman Eddie Pepperell one of three players sharing third position at 65.

The leading SA players in the field are Deon Germishuys and Zander Lombard, who are joint sixth on 66.

Wilco Nienaber (-2), as well as Louis de Jager and Thomas Aiken, who both played 70 shots, all surpassed the par.

*At Sun City, Milnerton professional Luca Filippi sets the pace after the halfway mark of the Sunshine Series’ Blue Label Challenge Tournament.

The tournament is decided on the Pilanesberg resort’s Gary Player and Lost City courses and is played on a points system.

Filippi scored an outstanding eight birdies on the difficult Gary Player course in Thursday’s second round for a total of 16 points.

Together with the 14 points he scored on the Lost City circuit on Wednesday, Filippi enjoys a four-point lead over Ryan van Velzen on 30 points.

The leader after day one, Yurav Premlall, holds third place with 23 points, with the Cape Towner Keenan Davidse on 21 in fourth position.

Additional sources: PGA Tour, DP World Tour, Sunshine Tour.