ANA Inspiration 2017: Lexi Thompson Overtakes Suzann Pettersen for Overall Lead

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2017

Lexi Thompson is one day away from winning the first major of the women's golf season.

The ANA Inspiration has had to navigate some rough weather in the first few days to cause an adjusted schedule. Saturday featured both the end of the second round and the entire third round.

Despite the busy day, Thompson excelled with a 67 in the third round after completing the second round with a score of 67.

Here is a look at the top of the leaderboard through the first 54 holes in Rancho Mirage, California:

ANA Inspiration Leaderboard Through Round 3
Pos.PlayerScoreRound 3
1Lexi Thompson-1367
2Suzann Pettersen-1168
T3Mi Jung Hur-1065
T3Minjee Lee-1068
T3Inbee Park-1068
T3So Yeon Ryu-1069
T7Ariya Jutanugarn-868
T7Karine Icher-868
T7Cristie Kerr-870
T7Michelle Wie-871
LPGA.com

 

Although Suzann Pettersen began the day with the lead, Thompson took over by the end of the second round thanks to her seven birdies.

The LPGA account provided a recap of some of her best moments:

Her strong play continued into the third round, where she reached the green in regulation on all 18 holes and had an average drive of 301 yards, per LPGA.com.

She came through with big shots regardless of what was in her way, like on this shot:

Pettersen remained within striking distance, however, sitting alone in second place after a strong end to the round. She earned birdies on two of her last three holes, including this shot on No. 16:

The veteran will certainly be able to keep the pressure on the leader throughout the final round.

Mi Jung Hur was another big story from Saturday, as she effectively came out of nowhere to put herself in contention with a 65 in the third round. Beginning the day four strokes back and tied for 19th, she used eight birdies to climb up the leaderboard and into a tie for third place.

Perhaps less unexpected was the rise of Inbee Park, who is looking for her eighth career major while going into the final day in the top five. She finished with a 68 on Saturday, her third straight round under 70. Only three other players have been in the 60s all three rounds in this tournament.

"I feel like I've achieved so many things in golf, a lot more than what I expected," Park said after the round, per LPGA. "But [I'm] still hungry for majors."

Michelle Wie wasn't as fortunate while dealing with injury problems. As Karen Stupples and Randall Mell of Golf Channel noted, a hip issue slowed her round:

After coming into the day just one stroke off the lead, she stumbled to just a 71. She had nothing but pars on the back nine, which was enough to remain competitive but not enough to keep pace with the leaders.

Anna Nordqvist (-4) and Mirim Lee (-3) are also down the leaderboard but have the talent necessary to climb into the top 10 before the end of the tournament. Still, everyone is chasing Thompson for the win at this prestigious event.

The competitors will be back in action Sunday in Rancho Mirage with the tournament far from decided.

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