LAS VEGAS — Lexi Thompson couldn’t get any worse in a tough round and ultimately held her own at Thursday’s Shriners Children’s Open until darkness stopped her Complete the game.
Beau Hossler matched his career low with a 9-under 62 on the PGA Tour, including the 17th hole at TPC Summerlin The par 3 hole tees off to the left.
Thompson is the headliner of this fall FedExCup event, the seventh woman to compete on the PGA Tour and the first in five years.
She was 1 over through 16 holes and elected to mark her ball (a 20-foot par putt on the 17th hole) and return to finish at 10:45 a.m. ET on Friday First round. The tournament was still going on and it was an opportunity to make the cut, although keeping her score around par would be difficult.
“I played well,” Thompson said. “I had a bad hole and some shaky shots. But that’s golf; that’s to be expected.”
Thompson took advantage of birdie opportunities on two par-5s, and she got the added bonus of sinking a birdie putt from 25 feet on the second hole, which at least earned her a red card. But in 17 holes, she had just five chances inside 20 feet.
It looked like this round would get rid of her on the front nine. By the time she hit the par-4 7th, long from the green, her par was 12 feet. She ran about 4 feet but failed to make double bogey.
On the par-3 eighth hole, she was long in the rough, chipped about 25 feet from the hole, and her par putt was 6 feet short. Facing another double bogey, she did just that to limit the damage. Then she hit a 3-wood on the par-5 ninth that rolled onto the green from the firm fairway for a two-putt birdie from 30 feet.
“I knew I could make birdie if I hit the fairway,” Thompson said. “I knew I could hit the 3-wood near the front of the green and get a birdie there. Hit a good shot and really stick with it and hit the 3-wood. Try to make an eagle, but for sure Will make birdies.”
Although her birdie opportunities were limited, she didn’t make another bogey the rest of the way, missing an 8-footer on the 12th and leaving an 8-foot short putt on the par-5 16th. Rod.
She finished tied for 76th when play was suspended due to darkness.
Although Thompson played late, the result was a draw. The race started with strong winds and freezing temperatures. The air warmed up and the wind died down in the afternoon, making TPC Summerlin more manageable.
JT Poston shot a 63 in the morning in tougher conditions. Hosler, who also shot a 62 in the final round of this year’s 3M Open, had a particularly strong afternoon. He only missed two greens and made the most of the opportunities he had.
“Every part of my game feels good,” Hosler said. “To hit it that low, you have to have a good look. Some pretty stress-free birdies were good.”
His one mistake didn’t bother him. The flagstick on hole 17 cuts left, and it slopes heavily toward the water. After his tee shot found a hazard, Hossler dropped his ball near the green and made bogey with a simple up-and-down motion. He then made a short birdie putt on No. 18 for a 62.
Cameron Champ shot 63 on the afternoon, while Davis Thompson and Lanto Griffin shot 64. On a typically low-scoring course, 10 players shot 66 or better.
That added to Lexi Thompson’s morning challenge when she putted on the 17th green to play the 18th hole before starting the second round.
Over the past 70 years, Michelle Wie has come closest to making the cut as a woman on the PGA Tour. She lost the 2004 Sony Open by one stroke when she was 14 and a high school freshman.
Thompson brought a white golf bag to the game and had children from Shriners Hospitals for Children write messages on it. The sponsor exemption was only completed in the past two weeks, and Thompson said she hopes this week will inspire kids.
“The Shriners do so many amazing things for these kids, so I’m excited to be here and support them in any way I can,” she said.