US Women's Open 2021: Lexi Thompson Takes over Lead Entering Final Round

Adam WellsJune 6, 2021

Lexi Thompson plays her shot from the second tee during the third round of the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at The Olympic Club, Saturday, June 5, 2021, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn

After her best performance of the weekend Saturday, Lexi Thompson is one round away from winning the 2021 U.S. Women's Open.

Thompson is in sole possession of the lead with a 54-hole score of seven under par. The American star finished with a 66 in the third round, the lowest score of any player in the field.

Yuka Saso, who began the third round atop the leaderboard, fell one spot to second place. She finished with an even-par 71 and is one shot behind Thompson.

2021 U.S. Women's Open Leaderboard

1. Lexi Thompson (-7)

2. Yuka Saso (-6)

T3. Megha Ganne (-3)

T3. Jeongeun Lee6 (-3)

5. Shanshan Feng (-2)

T6. Nasa Hataoka (-1)

T6. Megan Khang (-1)

8. Inbee Park (E)

T9. Angel Yin (+1)

T9. Hyo Joo Kim (+1)

T9. Maja Stark (+1)

Full leaderboard can be found at USGA.org.

Thompson played her first bogey-free round of the tournament Saturday. The 26-year-old had five birdies, including three on the front nine. She also hit nine of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens in regulation.


The shot that set @Lexi up for birdie and the lead 👇<br><br>Watch the @uswomensopen now on @GolfChannel!<br><br> pic.twitter.com/vVzXx1G4BG


2007: Lexi Thompson qualifies for her first #USWomensOpen at the age of 12<br><br>2021: Lexi Thompson holds the 54-hole lead at @TheOlympicClub pic.twitter.com/7TrYcXWGiq

"I struck it well all day, made a few good putts out there," Thompson said of her performance after the round. "And I guess probably just picking up the missed fairways or missed greens when I did, getting up-and-down or just getting it as far as I could out of that rough."

Saso finds herself looking up at Thompson after struggling on the back nine.

Playing in just her second major tournament, Saso made the turn at one under for the day. She wound up finishing one over on her final nine holes because of three bogeys, including two straight on Nos. 13 and 14.

At one point, Saso did lead by as many as three shots after a birdie on No. 10:


Leader by 3️⃣<br><br>Yuka Saso birdies the 10th to move to 8-under at the @uswomensopen<br><br>Watch now on @GolfChannel! pic.twitter.com/NaiqjaaHAq

The two biggest changes for Saso on Saturday compared to the previous two days were her struggles to get on the green and convert her opportunities when she got there.

Saso's 10 greens in regulation were her fewest of the tournament thus far. She also hit 28 putts, her most in a single round this weekend.

No other player is within four shots of the lead heading into the final round. Megha Ganne, the 17-year-old amateur, is still in contention at three under. She did have her worst score of the tournament Saturday with a one-over 72.

Ganne's struggles can really be boiled down to two holes. She bogeyed Nos. 10 and 11 after finishing the front nine with a 34.

There are only seven players under par at this point in the tournament. Thompson has an outside shot at tying the all-time record low score at the U.S. Women's Open of 11 under if she has a big Sunday performance.

More important for Thompson, though, will be fighting off Saso as she looks to close out her second career victory in a major tournament.

Thompson and Saso will tee off in the final pairing Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET.