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Golf: Lexi Thompson misses out on Las Vegas jackpot

Lexi Thompson's bid to make history came up a little short as her two-under par 69 in the second round of the Shriners Children's Open saw her miss the cut by three strokes.

The American was looking to become the first woman since Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1945 to make the cut at a PGA Tour event.

The involvement of Thompson, competing as a sponsor's exemption, attracted plenty of interest but her hopes of making the cut initially appeared slim after opening the tournament with a two-over 73.

The 28-year-old looked destined to miss out as she opened her second round with a bogey on the 10th hole, but five birdies in her next 10 holes put her right back in contention to end a 78-year wait for a woman to make the cut.

Thompson dropped two shots in her final five holes to fall just short of making the cut, but there were plenty of positives to take from her performance regardless. 

The women’s world number 25 became just the second female player after Michelle Wie West to shoot lower than 70 on the PGA Tour - a feat Wie West managed twice - and hit 20 out of 28 fairways, while averaging over 300 yards off the tee.

"All the guys were so welcoming," she said after her second round, as reported by the BBC. "It's the best feeling just seeing the amount of kids out there screaming 'Lexi, Lexi, go Lexi' it makes me tear up sometimes because that is what I play for, to inspire these little kids.

"No added pressure. Of course it was a goal making the cut but I knew I had to play my A game."

What next for Lexi Thompson after Shriners Children's Open?

Thompson impressed for the USA in the 14-14 draw against Europe in last month’s Solheim Cup and she showed further signs of a return to form in Las Vegas.

The Coral Springs-native won her only major in 2014 at the Chevron Championship but struggled in the big events this year, missing the cut in three of the four majors.

Thompson is an 11-time winner on the LPGA Tour and her last success came in 2019, although she did lose in a four-way play-off in the Pelican Women's Championship in 2021. Her goals for next year will surely be adding to her list of honours.

The next women’s major is The Chevron Championship and will take place in April 2024 at The Woodlands Country Club in Texas, USA.

There is also another edition of the Solheim Cup in 2024, taking place at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia, and Thompson will be hoping to be a member of the USA team on home soil after her exploits this year.

The USA are rated as the 8/11 favourites to win the team event, Europe can be backed at 11/8 and another tie is 10/1.

Three-way tie at the top in Vegas

Thompson’s tournament may be over but there is plenty of golf left to be played at the Shriners Children's Open, with Tom Kim, Adam Hadwin and Lanto Griffin sharing a one-shot lead at -15 going into Sunday's final round.

Defending champion Kim certainly found his rhythm on Saturday, firing a blistering nine-under 62 to shoot the top, while Adam Hadwin's bogey free 63 saw him join Kim on -15. 

Griffin's third round was more of a grind by comparison, with the American not recording a birdie until the 13th hole, but he finished strongly for a 68.

This is more than just a three-horse race though with KH Lee, Taylor Pendrith and Vince Whaley all one shot back at -14, while England's Callum Tarren is one of four players just a shot further adrift after a scintillating 62.

Sweden’s Alex Noren is one of seven players who will enter the final round three shots off the lead.

Tarren is on offer at 5/2 to record a top-five finish, while Noren is available at 17/4.

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