Published January 13, 2015
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (SportsNetwork.com) - Lexi Thompson fired a 2-under-par 69 on Sunday and cruised to a 4-stroke win at the LPGA Malaysia.
Thompson, who held a 3-stroke overnight lead, used a string of three straight birdies after the turn to seal her second LPGA Tour win and first since the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic. The 18-year-old ended the tournament at 19-under- par 265.
"Just a bunch of happiness right now, that's for sure," Thompson said about the win. "Words can't even describe the feeling I have right now. It's sort of like a rerun from Navistar, just having that feeling walking up to the 18th green, embracing the fans and just knowing you have the win under your belt. It means so much, especially to get it here in Malaysia."
Last week's Reignwood LPGA Classic winner Shanshan Feng shot 67 on Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club's East Course to finish second at 15-under 269.
Ilhee Lee, who held 1-stroke lead through each of the first two rounds, struggled to a 73 and ended in a tie for third place with world No. 2 Suzann Pettersen (70) at minus-12.
Amy Yang carded a 66 to place solo fifth at 10-under, one shot ahead of world No. 3 Stacy Lewis (69), Sandra Gal (66), Beatriz Recari (69), Alison Walshe (69), Chella Choi (67) and Karine Icher (72).
Michelle Wie posted her best result since early June, as she shot 69 in the final round and tied for 12th at 7-under 277. Her previous best finish was a share of ninth at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.
Thompson earned her 3-stroke overnight lead with a third-round 66, but she opened with eight pars and a bogey on Sunday, allowing Lee to inch closer as a result.
Lee opened with four straight pars and a bogey at the par-3 fifth before carding back-to-back birdies from the sixth to move within one shot of Thompson. She would get no closer, due in part to her own unraveling, but also to Thompson's stellar run around the turn.
Aided by Lee's bogey at the ninth, Thompson did the rest to close out the comfortable win.
She began her victory march at the par-4 10th, knocking her approach within three feet and tapping in for birdie. Pressing on, Thompson drained a bending birdie putt from outside 20 feet at the 11th, then 2-putted for her third straight birdie at the 12th to reach 19-under.
When the dust settled on her birdie hat trick, Thompson held a 4-shot lead over Lee, who then bogeyed the 13th and 14th to drop six back.
Feng moved into second place courtesy of Lee's stumble, then carded her third birdie of the day at the 16th to reach 14-under. She closed her bogey-free round with another birdie at the last, but Thompson's margin proved too great.
Comfortable advantage in hand, Thompson strolled into the winner's circle, playing her final six holes at even par.
"It got really close," said Thompson. "I had a little off start. I had a few bad tee shots. But I was just trying to stay into it and be confident with all my tee shots and shots into the green. I knew not only the group I was playing with, Suzann and Ilhee, they're both good players, but even players behind them were obviously coming up and playing well. I knew I had to just keep on birdieing and making pars."
NOTES: Thompson earned $300,000 with the first-place finish ... She made 43 starts in between her two victories ... This was the first time in her career that Thompson recorded all four rounds in the 60s (67-63-66-69) ... Thompson became the 13th different winner on the LPGA Tour in 2013 ... Defending champion and world No. 1 Inbee Park, a six-time winner this season, tied for 32nd at 1-under-par 283.