Lexi Thompson and Rickie Fowler posted one of the best alternate shot format scores on Saturday at the Grant Thornton Invitational. Together, they posted a 4-under 68 to get them into a fourth-place tie.
One of the day’s biggest moments came at the par-3 16th when Thompson hit a perfect shot.
The ball bounced once and dunked into the hole. Then the celebration ensued with Fowler, Joel Dahmen and Lilia Vu all giving her a high five.
It was easily the shot of the day.
Her hole-in-one pushed them to 16-under in the tournament, where they would finish on Day Two.
This was Thompson’s 11th ace of her pro career, but she thinks it is one of her best so far.
“I’ve only had about four in competition with crowds, with a good amount of crowds, so there was a lot of people around that tee box. It was nice to high-five everybody and hear all the cheers,” Thompson said. “I can’t wait to watch the video of it later. Definitely a good feeling. Hitting a golf shot or making a putt and just committing to it and seeing the shot at hand and just pulling it off is always a great feeling.”
It wasn’t a layup shot, either.
“I had 158 to the hole, a little breeze in. I mean, not much. It was pretty dead towards the end of the round,” Thompson said. “Ended up taking my 7-iron, which is my 62 to 65 club, and backed up two club lengths from the tee marker and just tried to hit like a 3/4 hole.”
Fowler added more context, making sure people understood that Thompson was dead on target.
“Never left the flag,” Fowler said.
What Thompson said next summed up the shot entirely.
“I was just hoping it was the right number, and it ended up being a perfect number,” she said.
Fowler and Thompson started the day off slowly with two bogeys on the 1st and 3rd holes. They added a birdie on the par-4 9th to make the turn with some momentum.
The duo stayed hot, making birdie on 11, 12 and 13. A final bogey at the par-5 14th didn’t deter them, as they got the stroke back on the 15. Then came her incredible shot on 16. It was what they needed to close out the most challenging format on a high note.
“The hole-in-one kind of helped,” Fowler said. “It can be the most gratifying but also the most stressful, depending on how it’s going. If you play well in alternate shot, it’s the one you can make up ground. It’s tough to do a day like yesterday in a scramble; you have to make birdies, where if you make a bunch of pars and throw on some birdies, you can cruise up the board.”
Day 3 will feature a modified four-ball format. Each golfer will tee off their ball, but after that, they will play each other’s. Fowler and Thompson sit four shots back of Lydia Ko and Jason Day entering Sunday.
It won’t be easy but if they have a strong final round, this dynamic duo could be the first Grant Thornton Invitational winners.
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.