NAPLES, Fla. — Lexi Thompson has been searching for something with her putting. On Friday at the CME Group Tour Championship, where she shot a five-under 67, it looked like she might have found it.
In the first round, Thompson used a standard putting grip and a slightly open stance. It wasn't working. Thompson had 32 putts on Thursday, on her way to shooting a two-under 70. With Sei Young Kim leading after an opening 65, Thompson was well off the lead in the season's final event, which not only features the largest paycheck in the history of women's golf, but is a tournament in which Thompson is the defending champion.
Thompson said that after the first round, she went to the practice green and started working with the claw grip again. She debuted the claw in June at the U.S. Women's Open but had only being using it occasionally in competition.
"I struggled quite a bit on the greens yesterday, and I've been kind of back and forth just trying to find something I'm very comfortable with, and claw it is," Thompson said on Friday. "Now it's just more of repetitions, getting more and more comfortable with it."
Comfort with the claw led Thompson to a much better putting performance on the firm greens at Tiburon Golf Club on Friday when she needed only 27 putts. Her performance moved her from T-17 up to T-6. Unfortunately for Thompson, it wasn't enough to chip away at Kim's lead. Kim shot a 67 on Friday, putting her at 12-under heading into the weekend, five strokes still ahead of Thompson.
Thompson's plan for the weekend—besides sticking with the claw—is to attack the course. That strategy plays into something she likes about Tiburon—the layout allows for bold shots.
"I'm working on things in my swing and my putting obviously, going back and forth," Thompson said. "But I'm just trying to get to where I'm playing good golf and feel comfortable with my swing and just back to the aggressive Lexi."