ROGERS, Ark. (AP) — Lexi Thompson followed a resurgent week at the Solheim Cup with a strong start in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
After going 3-1 in Spain in the United States’ tie that left the cup in Europe’s hands, Thompson shot a 6-under 65 on Friday at Pinnacle Country Club. She was a stroke behind leader Hae Ran Ryu on the crowded leaderboard.
“Overall, just a very steady day,” Thompson said. “We had perfect weather out there, so I just tried to take last week into today and just fully commit to every shot that I had out there.”
Thompson is No. 138 in the Race to CME Globe and in danger of losing her LPGA Tour card for 2024 without taking a career money exemption. She has 11 tour victories, the last in the 2019 ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Ryu had four straight birdies in a back-nine 30 in her 64. The 22-year-old South Korean player was the LPGA Q-Series medalist last year.
“Before this tournament I go back to Korea and I’m practice a lot of shots with my coach,” Ryu said. “I got more confidence in my shot.”
Thompson dropped out of a late tie for the lead with Ryu with a bogey on the par-4 eighth, her 17th hole of the day.
Lydia Ko also was at 65 with Yuka Saso, Kelly Tan, Christina Kim, Hannah Green, Olivia Cowan, Jenny Shin and Nicole Broch Estrup.
The highest-ranked player in the field at No. 10, Ko won in 2016 and has five other top-10 finishes at Pinnacle Country Club.
“It’s always good to be back at a place where I have a lot of good memories,” Ko said. “Played with the same pro-am group for eight years, so it’s just feel like it’s home away from home.”
The New Zealander has 19 LPGA Tour victories, winning the Honda LPGA Thailand this season.
Linnea Strom was at 66 with Morgane Metraux, Yuna Nishimura, Pernilla Lindberg, Sarah Schmelzel, Bronte Law and Sofia Garcia.
Defending champion Atthaya Thitikul opened with a 68.
Former University of Arkansas star Stacy Lewis shot a 78, a week after captaining the U.S. Solheim Cup team. She won the tournament in 2007 and 2014.
AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf