Thompson cruises to Kraft Nabisco title
Rancho Mirage, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Lexi Thompson birdied three of the first five holes on Sunday to take control of the tournament and she cruised to a 3-stroke win at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA Tour's first major of the season.
Thompson, who held a share of the lead after the second and third rounds, closed with a 4-under 68 to end at 14-under-par 274. This was Thompson's first major championship title and fourth LPGA win in all.
"The first tee I was definitely a little nervous, but it just shows how much I care about it. I've worked my whole life to win a major, and this was my main goal coming into this year, to win a major, and I've always seen myself winning the Kraft Nabisco and taking the leap into Poppy's Pond," said Thompson.
"I'm so excited and I'm so grateful for this opportunity."
Michelle Wie, who shared the third-round lead with Thompson, birdied the last for a 1-under 71. She took second at minus-11 on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club.
Stacy Lewis, the 2011 champion, shot 3-under 69 for the second straight round. She ended alone in third at 7-under 281, while Cristie Kerr (72) and Se Ri Pak (74) shared fourth at 6-under 282.
Thompson drained a 12-footer for birdie on the first, but Wie answered with a birdie on the second. However, Wie gave that shot back with a bogey on the third.
At the fourth, Thompson made a 7-footer for birdie and she followed with a 5- foot birdie effort on the fifth to push her lead to three. No one got closer than that the rest of the way.
Wie 3-putted for bogey on the eighth to slide four behind, and Thompson pushed her lead to five with a birdie on the ninth. Thompson had just 13 putts on the front nine.
Around the turn, Wie birdied the 11th and 14th to get within three, but it wasn't enough.
Thompson closed like a major champion with a big lead. She parred the final nine holes and she played the final 55 holes of the tournament with 16 birdies and a single bogey.
"Coming into this week, I had a bunch of confidence coming off last week," said Thompson, who took third at the Kia Classic.
Wie stumbled to a bogey on the 17th, but got that back with a birdie at the last. Despite the loss, Wie notched her fifth top-10 finish at this major championship.
"Lexi just played amazing today. It was a struggle to catch up to her all day. She hit the ball the best I've ever seen her hit it and she made everything. I was just really proud of her, she played amazing," Wie said. "I just couldn't get anything going, I just couldn't catch up to her. But at the end of the day, I'm still proud of myself."
Women's world No. 1 and last year's winner Inbee Park stumbled to a 3-over 75 to fall into 38th at 4-over 292.
NOTES: Thompson earned $300,000 for the win ... She became the second-youngest winner in a major championship behind only 2007 Kraft winner Morgan Pressel ... Thompson did not have a top-20 finish in her previous four starts at this championship ... She has had at least a share of the 54-hole lead in all four of her LPGA Tour wins ... Minjee Lee managed an even-par 72 to grab low- amateur status as she ended at even-par 288, one shot ahead of Brooke Henderson ... In two weeks, the LPGA Tour heads to Hawaii for the LPGA LOTTE Championship, where Suzann Pettersen won last year. That event runs from Wednesday to Saturday.
04/06 22:03:40 ET