|-12 C Champ (US), L Griffin (US); -11 H Norlander (Swe); -10 N Taylor (Can), JT Poston (US); -9; A Noren (Swe)|
|Selected others: -7; M Wallace (Eng), N Hojgaard (Den); -5 A Rai (Eng); -4 L Aberg (Swe); E L Thompson (US); +2 R Knox (Sco)|
Lexi Thompson fell just short of making the cut on her PGA Tour debut despite carding a two-under 69 in the second round of the Shriners Children’s Open.
The US Solheim Cup star was aiming to become the first woman to make the cut at a PGA Tour event since 1945.
Thompson, 28, made five birdies as she battled back superbly after opening the tournament with a two-over 73.
However, two bogeys in her final five holes saw her miss the cut in Las Vegas by three strokes.
“It’s an amazing feeling not only to have my parents out here to support me but just to be able to come here and follow my dreams is something I have wanted to do since playing against my brothers growing up,” said Thompson.
“All the guys were so welcoming. It’s the best feeling just seeing the amount of kids out there screaming ‘Lexi, Lexi, go Lexi’ it makes me tear up sometimes because that is what I play for, to inspire these little kids.
“No added pressure. Of course it was a goal making the cut but I knew I had to play my A game.”
American Lanto Griffin has a share of the lead on 12 under after carding a second round 66 that included a run of five straight birdies. Compatriot Cameron Champ is alongside Griffin at the top of the leaderboard after hitting 67.
Thompson’s participation as a sponsor’s exemption saw her attract huge galleries and interest, even if her hopes were dented further when she opened her second round by dropping a shot on the 10th hole to leave her at three over overall.
But the American, who averaged over 300 yards off the tee and drove the green on the 296-yard par-four 15th, birdied five of the next 10 holes to put herself on the brink of matching Babe Didrikson Zaharias’ achievement from 78 years ago.
Thompson, who appeared to regain her best form in the United States’ 14-14 draw against Europe in the Solheim Cup last month, becomes only the second female player after Michelle Wie West to shoot lower than 70 on the PGA Tour.
And had she knocked in a six-foot birdie putt on the par-five ninth hole, she would have concluded by equalling the 68 Wie West twice managed at the Sony Open in 2004 and 2006.
“I knew there were some difficult holes out there and I had to take advantage of the few birdie holes like the par fives,” added Thompson, who also hit 20 out of 28 fairways, putting her among the top 15 through two rounds.
“But just coming into the week there was more than a message than just playing golf, to inspire the kids, and that’s what I enjoy the most.”
Sweden’s Henrik Norlander goes into the weekend one shot off the lead after shooting a seven-under 67 in his second round, with Canada’s Nick Taylor and American JT Poston one shot further back.
Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard, a member of Europe’s triumphant Ryder Cup team, is five shots off the lead on seven under alongside England’s Matt Wallace.
Another of Europe’s Ryder Cup-winning side, Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg, is four-under-par after hitting a second successive round of 69.