Playing with a ‘weight lifted off,’ LPGA star Lexi Thompson says Saturday’s round was one of her best ever

Lexi Thompson has been playing full-time on the LPGA since 2014, and she’s racked up 15 professional wins including a major; the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

But on Saturday at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont, Michigan, en route to a 65 that got her within striking distance of the leaders, Thompson said golf was as fun as it can be.

Just weeks after announcing this will be her final season on the LPGA, Thompson used an eagle on the eighth hole to pull into a tie for third at 12 under after 54 holes. She’s tied with Anna Nordqvist and Allisen Corpuz, and trailing leaders Grace Kim and Ally Ewing.

Thompson went 7 under in a six-hole stretch right before the turn, marking one of the best grooves of her professional career.

Lexi Thompson of the United States plays a shot on the first hole during the third round of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give at Blythefield Country Club on June 15, 2024 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by Raj Mehta/Getty Images)

“It’s definitely up there. One of my best stretches I think I’ve had on the golf course,” she said. “Just the golf is one thing, but just how I felt out there, very comfortable and relaxed, just enjoyed being out there. I think that’s what this week really brings, just the atmosphere, and I think we all do enjoy coming back and playing here in Grand Rapids.”

Photos: LPGA star Lexi Thompson, who will retire at 29, through the years

Even though she’s still eight months from her 30th birthday, Thompson was the youngest winner on the LPGA when she captured the Navistar LPGA Classic at just 16 years old in 2011. She admitted she’s playing with less pressure after announcing her upcoming retirement.

“Definitely a weight lifted off because it’s something that’s been on my mind for a bit. There is a lot of golf to be played and the rest of the year and I’m really looking forward to every time I tee it up, especially if we get crowds like this every week,” she said. “There is nothing like it. The fans make the game. That’s why I’ve loved every bit of being out here every single year. So it’s a bit of a relief, but I want to finish this year strong.”

When the golf comes as easy as it did Saturday does it make her want to reconsider? Thompson laughed when asked that question.

“Rounds like this make it harder, that’s for sure,” she said. “But I mean, I love the game. It’s just an up and down sport as everybody knows.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek