Third-ranked Stacy Lewis shot a seven-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead in the Navistar Classic, while second-round leader Lexi Thompson fell five shots behind on Saturday.
Lewis, a two-time winner this season, had a 15-under 201 total on The Senator course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Capitol Hill complex. She birdied four of the first five holes in her bogey-free round.
“I think going into today, I knew I needed to make birdies just the way the scores had been all day, and you don’t know if you’re ever going to start off like that,” Lewis said. “You can kind of hit it good warming up, but you never really know what you’re going to take to the course.”
The 17-year-old Thompson had a 74 to drop into a tie for sixth at 10 under. Thompson won the event last year at 16 to become the youngest champion in US LPGA Tour history, a mark broken last month by 15-year-old New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko in the Canadian Women’s Open.
“I just struggled a little bit,” Thompson said. “I’m definitely not out of it. I shot 63 the first day, so if I have a round like that, I can be in contention. I’m just going to go out and free swing and try to make birdies. Hopefully, a few more putts drop.”
Angela Stanford shot a 68. She won the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore in February.
“To win early in the year and late in the year would be pretty big, because I think it’s such a long year that there’s so many ups and downs,” Stanford said. “It would be nice to have another.”
Lizette Salas with third at 12 under after a 70, and Kang Hae-ji and Hur Mi-jung followed at 11 under. Kang shot a 67, and Hur had a 72.
“Tomorrow, nothing changes,” Salas said. “Game plan is to stay patient and just play with confidence. I think that’s the main thing for me. Just keep it keep rolling the rock, that’s what I’ve been told this whole week, and just to stay positive.”
Sarah Jane Smith and Park Hee-young joined Thompson at 10 under.
Smith had a 68, and Park shot 72.
Top-ranked Yani Tseng of Taiwan was five-under after a 70.
Her compatriots Candie Kung and Amy Hung shot a 68 for six-under and 70 for three-under respectively.
Additional reporting by staff writer