Lorena Ochoa Invitational Saturday: Lexi Leads, Loads Lurk

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Lexi Thompson extended her bogey-free run at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational to 36 holes and counting and moved to -13 on the strength of a 67 today.  That was just good enough to give her a 1-shot lead on In-Kyung Kim (whose own bogey-free streak ended at 33 holes but made 5 birdies in her last 12 holes to post a 67 with only 22 putts), a 2-shot lead on Stacy Lewis (who closed with a bogey-free 31), a 3-shot lead on So Yeon Ryu (who would be leading this thing if she could figure out the 1st 5 holes), a 4-shot lead on Anna Nordqvist and Pornanong Phatlum, and a 5-shot lead on Inbee Park (who made her 1st 3 bogeys of the week after going 41 holes without one), Suzann Pettersen (who bogeyed 3 of her 1st 11 holes and birdied 3 of her last 7), and Lizette Salas.  Joining Thompson, Kim, and Lewis in the 67 club today was none other than Michelle Wie, who stayed within 6 shots of Thompson thanks to a 7-birdie performance.

Consider what the leaders will be playing for tomorrow:

  • Park will be fighting to finish ahead of Pettersen and maintain or extend her unfathomly narrow lead in the Player of the Year race (a win there is worth a Hall of Fame point) and in the race for the money-list title.
  • Lewis will be fighting to finish ahead of Pettersen and maintain or extend her .051 lead in 2013 scoring average (the eventual Vare Trophy winner also wins a Hall of Fame point).
  • Lewis will also be fighting to give herself a chance to become the 3rd player to cross the $2M mark in season winnings.
  • Kim will be fighting for her 4th career LPGA victory (which would have come in a certain major if it weren’t for a putt of a certain length).
  • Thompson, Ryu, Nordqvist, and Wie will be fighting for their 3rd career LPGA victory.
  • Phatlum and Salas will be fighting for their 1st career LPGA victory.
Unless someone from back in the pack flirts with a 59 later today, it’s likely our winner will be one of the above players.  But who?
What do you think?

[Update 1 (1:31 am):  bangkokbobby weighs in.  He sounds almost as excited about a possible Lexi win as a Phatlum one!]

[Update 2 (11:44 am):  Ruthless Mike is pretty excited about his prognosticating.  Let’s see how this thing ends up.  All I know, I was an idiot to pick Ai Miyazato to win this thing!]

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