It’s the worst word in sports.
Happens to the best and it happened to Lexi Thompson on Sunday in Canada at the Manulife Classic.
Thompson looked like she was on her way to her second victory of the season at the Whistle Bear Golf Club in Ontario. The LPGA’s biggest hitter took a four-shot lead to the back nine after she birdied the ninth hole to go 20-under for the tournament.
She ran into trouble starting at the par five 12th where she made an untimely bogey then took another at 13. She bounced back with a nice putt from the fringe at the 15th and led by three with three to play. Things got troublesome at the par five 16th where she missed a five-footer for birdie that would have put the tournament away.
At the 17th, things unraveled further when she three-putted from 60 feet. The huge shock came at the 18th where she bombed a perfect drive then left a wedge from 86 yards 30-feet short of the hole. No problem, easy two-putt, pick up the trophy. Her approach putt was four-feet short and she didn’t even hit the hole with her second, sending her into a playoff with Ariya Jutanugarn and In Gee Chun, all finished at 17-under.
The playoff ended quickly and mercifully. Thompson again smoked her tee shot but didn’t even reach the green from 90 yards out in the fairway. Jutanugarn recovered from a bad tee shot and ended up 25 feet from the hole, Chun was 30 out. Chun missed, Jutanugarn holed her and Thompson’s collapse was complete.
“I had like a five-footer, a six-footer and a four-footer and missed them all. If I made those, I would have won. But that’s golf, I guess,” Thompson said, wiping away some tears as she walked off 18.
Jutanugarn was as surprised as anyone.
“I can’t believe I won the tournament,” she said after watching her 25-footer for birdie go straight in the middle of the hole.
What she might also believe is that she will end up as the world’s No. 1 player when the new rankings come out.
Wins will do that for you.