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Thompson leads Navistar title defense into weekend

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PRATTVILLE, Ala. – Defending champion Lexi Thompson shot a 3-under 69 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead into weekend play in the Navistar LPGA Classic.

The 17-year-old had a 12-under 132 total on the links-style Senator course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Capitol Hill complex. She matched the tournament record Thursday with a career-best 63.

'I played pretty consistent today,' Thompson said. 'I hit a few squirrely iron shots that I wasn't happy with, but overall I played consistent. My putting has gotten a lot better.

'It's all about confidence really and just getting up to it and saying to yourself, you're going to make the putt. That's all I'm doing really, just getting a line and commit to it.'

Last year, Thompson became the youngest champion in LPGA history at age 16, winning by five strokes. Fifteen-year-old amateur Lydia Ko broke the record last month in the Canadian Women's Open.

Mindy Kim and Mi Jung Hur were a stroke back. They played in the same group and each shot 65.

Kim and Hur also missed late chances to tie Thompson. Hur missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the par-5 eighth, their 17th hole of the day, and Kim missed a 6-footer on the par-4 ninth.

Kim started the day with five straight birdies and had eight overall, along with a bogey.

'My putter was really hot today, right off the get-go,' Kim said. 'I'm just really excited to be in this position. I haven't been in this position for a while, so hopefully I can play some good golf on the weekend.'

So was Hur, who said it's been a 'long time, no see' situation as far as her name being on any leaderboard, and she didn't figure this would be the day to change that. She woke up feeling lousy, still suffering from a cold she got earlier this week after playing in the inclement weather at the Women's British Open.

But Hur also started the second round with five straight birdies and felt better in a hurry.

'After I made the third birdie, I was feeling much better,' she said. 'It was a pretty fantastic round with (Kim). We had a really great round together.'

Dori Carter was two strokes back at 10 under along with Hee Young Park and Lizette Salas. Carter had a 67, and Park and Salas shot 69.

'It wasn't the best ball-striking day for me, but I saved pars when I needed to and I just rolled in a couple birdies,' Salas said. 'Bogey-free round. I just kept steady, didn't force anything.'

Top-ranked Yani Tseng was 3 under after a 70. Michelle Wie missed the cut by a stroke, shooting a 73 to finish at even par.