Sunday, April 22, 2018
Golf

Lexi Thompson cruises to victory at Indy Women in Tech Championship

INDIANAPOLIS — Lexi Thompson celebrated in traditional Indianapolis style. She sipped some milk, poured the rest over her head and sealed it with a kiss of the bricks.

The 22-year-old earned it.

After two days of almost error-free golf, Thompson overcame some late bobbles for a four-shot victory over Lydia Ko on Saturday in the inaugural Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Thompson closed with 4-under 68 to finish at 19-under 197 at Brickyard Crossing, the Pete and Alice Dye-designed course that weaves around and inside the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"Kind of regretting it now because I feel really gross," Thompson said, referring to the first milk bath by a female champion in Indianapolis history. "Then I went around the track in a Corvette Stingray, which I also have one there at home. It was just an amazing experience. That made my day right there."

Shortly after collecting the crystal trophy and champions' wreath on the 18th green, Thompson was driven to the track's start-finish line where she kneeled in front of cameras and kissed the bricks. After taking a quick sip, the slightly hesitant player doused herself in almond milk.

The only items that were salvaged were the shoes she wanted for the Evian Championship, the final major of the season next week in France, and her sunglasses that she handed to someone.

"Here goes this outfit," Thompson said with a laugh before posing for more photos with milk running down her nose. She either didn't notice or mind after a dominant weekend put her in position to jump from second to third in the world ranking.

Thompson won her ninth career LPGA Tour title and became the fourth player — and first American — with multiple wins this season. She also won the Kingsmill Championship in May in Virginia.

Ko entered the final round tied with Thompson for the lead and had a chance to end a 14-month winless streak, but the 20-year-old New Zealander couldn't keep up with Thompson over the final 10 holes.

The low scores that seemed like such a breeze the first two days mostly disappeared in the heaviest wind of the weekend. While Thompson had six more birdies, she also had two back-nine bogeys and had to scramble to avoid more trouble.

Ko, who had one bogey during the first two rounds, wound up with bogey and double bogey in a closing 72.

"Lexi played great," Ko said after her best finish since April. "She had some 3- or 4-footers for par and she made all of them, so it just shows you how much confidence she was playing with. But it was great being in this position."

PGA EUROPE: Scott Hend of Australia extended his lead to two strokes when play was suspended during the weather-affected European Masters' third round in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Hend birdied the par-3 13th hole minutes before fading light forced the players off a second time. Earlier, fog shrouding the Swiss Alps course caused a two-hour, 24-minute stoppage. Leading overnight by one, Hend was 2 over par for his 13 holes. Still, his 11 under total was two ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick of England, Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay and Darren Fichardt of South Africa.

CHAMPIONS: Scott McCarron shot his second straight 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Kevin Sutherland at 12-under 132 in the Japan Airlines Championship in Chiba, the tour's first event in Japan. Sutherland, tied for the first-round lead with Glen Day at 65, had 68. Day shot 72 to fall five strokes back.

WALKER CUP: Southern California natives Collin Morikawa and Norman Xiong opened with a record-setting victory to help the United States split the morning foursomes with defending champion Britain and Ireland at Los Angeles Country Club's North Course. Morikawa and Xiong beat Harry Ellis and Alfie Plant 8 and 7, the largest margin for an 18-hole match at the biennial amateur tournament.

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