Thompson separates on moving day at Chicago Highlands
WESTCHESTER, Ill. – Entering the day one stroke off the lead, Curtis Thompson carded a 4-under 68 to take the 54-hole lead at the Evans Scholars Invitational. Thompson leads five players by three strokes entering the final round.
The third round was delayed due to weather for almost four hours early in the day, one hole into Thompson’s round. After the extended wait, Thompson bogeyed the fourth, but rebounded with birdies at the sixth, seventh and ninth holes to turn in 2-under 34. He added two more on the back nine at Nos. 12 and 18 to reach 15-under for the tournament.
“You knew going in today that it was going to be tough,” said Thompson, who ended up finishing his round more than nine hours after it began. “It was 100 percent chance of rain with 15 miles-per-hour wind. There wasn’t really lightning forecasted, so you didn’t know if you were going to play all day or if it was going to flood the course. I just went out there and tried to be patient.”
Thompson, a former standout at Louisiana State University, will seek his first career Korn Ferry Tour victory in his 103rd start on Sunday. He has tallied two top-10s thus far this season, highlighted by a T3 finish at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at Baha Mar. The 27-year-old has made eight consecutive cuts over the past two months.
“It would mean a lot; two years ago I was basically thinking about quitting golf and doing something else,” reflected Thompson who had resorted to caddying two years ago. “No matter how tomorrow ends up, I’ve come way farther than I thought I was going to be able to from two years ago. I’m blessed and happy to be here, and if tomorrow doesn’t go my way then so be it.”
Thompson is the brother of fellow Tour pro Nicholas Thompson and LPGA Tour star Lexi Thompson, who is currently T3 at the ANA Inspiration going into the final round. Nicholas Thompson is one of the longest hitters on the Korn Ferry Tour, ranking fifth in driving distance on the season with an average drive of 326.4 yards. He ranks third in distance off the tee this week.
“I think I’ve only made three bogeys,” said Thompson. “On a golf course like this where the ball can roll away from you and you can get pretty far from the hole, that’s huge. I shot 4-under today but only had to get five birdies. And there are four par-5s out there that are gettable.”
A quintet of players sit three strokes back, including Mito Pereira, who has tied the low round of the day in each of the past two days after a first-round 74. The Chilean tied the competitive course record with a 64 on Friday and backed it up with a 66 during a rain-soaked third round. Other players tied for second include Paul Barjon, Trey Mullinax, Stephan Jaeger and rookie Theo Humphrey. Of the top-six players on the leaderboard, only Pereira, Jaeger and Mullinax have previously won on Tour.
Tee times for Sunday’s final round will run from 9-11 a.m. off of the first and 10th tees.