Thompson leads LPGA Tour season finale with 65


NAPLES, Fla. — With brother Curtis back at her side at Tiburon Golf Club, Lexi Thompson shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the LPGA Tour’s CME Group Tour Championship.

Curtis Thompson, a Korn Ferry Tour player, also caddied for his sister in 2018 when she won the season-ending event.

“If we’re both home, we are always playing golf together and joking around,” Lexi Thompson said. “It’s great to have him out here. I really appreciate him helping me out and keeping me loose out there. Whether I play good or bad, he always keeps a smile on my face.”

On Thursday after early morning rain, Thompson birdied five of the first seven holes. She played the next nine holes in even par with a birdie and a bogey, then birdied the final two holes. The 11-time LPGA Tour winner had her lowest score of the year a week after missing the cut in Houston in the U.S. Women’s Open.

“I was just overall very happy with how I committed to my shots,” Thompson said. “That’s what I’ve really been working on. I’ve been working so hard on my game in general trying to improve on it, and it’s been kind of an up and down roller coaster with an unfortunate week last week.”

Nanna Koerstz Madsen of Denmark was a stroke back after a bogey-free round.

“I was a little shaky on my driver going into the event, and putting as well actually. So now it is always nice to start off with a good round,” Koerstz Madsen said. “I don’t have any expectations. I just want to go out and play and see if I can do good mentally.”

Defending champion Sei Young Kim was at 67 with Caroline Masson and Megan Khang.

Masson holed a 9-iron approach for eagle on the par-4 13th.

The $1.1 million winner’s prize, down from $1.5 million last year, is still the richest in women’s golf.

Top-ranked Jin Young Ko was at 68 with Minjee Lee, Maria Fassi, Anna Nordqvist, Carlota Ciganda and 2014 champion Cristie Kerr.

Race to CME Globe leader Inbee Park and second-place Danielle Kang each shot 71. Kang led the points race since back-to-back wins in Ohio until Park took over the lead last week.

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