Indianapolis — Lexi Thompson celebrated in the most traditional Indy style. She sipped some milk, poured the rest over her head and, of course, sealed it with a kiss of the bricks.
The 22-year-old Florida player earned it.
After dazzling fans with two days of almost error-free golf, Thompson overcame some late bobbles for a four-shot victory over Lydia Ko on Saturday in the inaugural Indy Women in Tech Championship.
Thompson closed with a 4-under 68 to finish at 19-under 197 at Brickyard Crossing, the Pete and Alice Dye-designed course that weaves around and inside the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Kind of regretting it now because I feel really gross,” Thompson said, referring to the first milk bath by a female champion in Indy history. “Then I went around the track in a Corvette Stingray, which I also have one there at home. It was just an amazing experience. That made my day right there.”
Shortly after collecting the Waterford crystal trophy and the champions’ wreath on the 18th green, Thompson was driven to the track’s start-finish line where she kneeled down in front of cameras and kissed the bricks. Then, after taking a quick sip, the slightly hesitant player doused herself in almond milk.
The only items that were salvaged were the shoes she wanted for this The Evian Championship, the final major of the season next week in France, and her sunglasses that she handed to someone.
“Here goes this outfit,” Thompson said with a laugh before posing for more photos with a streak of milk running down her nose.
She didn’t notice — or mind — after a dominant weekend put her in position to jump from third to second in the world ranking.
Thompson won her ninth career LPGA Tour title and became the fourth player — and first American — with multiple wins this season. She also won the Kingsmill Championship in May in Virginia. In April in the major ANA Inspiration in the California desert, she lost a playoff to So Yeon Ryu after being penalized four strokes for a rules violation reported by a television viewer.
Ko had a chance to end a 14-month winless streak, but the 20-year-old New Zealander couldn’t keep up with Thompson over the final 10 holes.
The low scores that seemed like such a breeze the first two days mostly disappeared in the heaviest wind of the weekend. It showed.
While Thompson had six more birdies Saturday, she also had two back-nine bogeys and had to scramble to avoid more trouble.
Ko, who had only one bogey during the first two rounds, wound up with a bogey and double bogey in a closing 72.
“Lexi played great,” Ko said after her best finish since April. “She had some 3- or 4-footers for par and she made all of them, so it just shows you how much confidence she was playing with. But it was great being in this position.”
Nobody else really contended.
Candie Kung started the day a shot behind Thompson and Ko, but finished with 74 to tie for fifth at 15 under. Minjee Lee wound up third at 14 under after a 67. Iceland’s Olafia Kristindottir (68) was another stroke back.
For the first eight holes, it looked as if Thompson and Ko would turn it into a match-play event.
They matched pars on No. 1 and birdies on No. 2. Thompson, the first-round leader after a 63, regained the outright lead when Ko bogeyed the par-3 third. But Ko birdied the par-5 fifth to tie it again, at 16 under, and it stayed that way until Thompson birdied Nos. 9 and 10.
“I had a three-putt on the third hole and that was my first three-putt of the weekend,” Ko said. “I tried to bring it back, but I just wasn’t putting as well today as did the other couple of days.”
Thompson’s biggest obstacle the rest of the way was herself.
She bogeyed the par-4 11th and gave back another stroke after hitting her tee shot into the water on No. 16. She nearly gave away another at No. 17 when her second shot rolled through the green.
But she rebounded with a birdie at No. 18 to kick off the post-tourney party.
“I was trying to comprehend that on the car ride over. I was like, what?” Thompson said when reflecting on her gender-breaking win at Indy. “It was a huge honor to be here in Indiana, to be able to kiss those bricks — definitely a memory that I’ll never forget.”
In Chiba, Japan, Scott McCarron was in a familiar spot atop a PGA Tour Champions leaderboard in his first trip to Japan. California childhood rival Kevin Sutherland was close behind — again.
Coming off his third victory in the last six tournaments, the 52-year-old McCarron shot his second straight 6-under 66 at Narita Golf Club to take a one-stroke lead over Sutherland in the Japan Airlines Championship — the senior tour’s first event in Japan.
Sutherland, tied for the first-round lead with Glen Day at 65, had a 68. Also visiting Japan for the first time, Sutherland made a 30-foot putt on the par-4 18th for his third birdie on the last four holes.
The long-hitting McCarron birdied all four par 5s after birdieing three of them Friday. He saved par on 18 with a 6-footer to keep the outright lead.
McCarron won the Shaw Charity Classic last week in Calgary, Alberta, to tie Bernhard Langer for the tour victory lead with four. The 53-year-old Sutherland has five straight top-10 finishes.
In Los Angeles, Southern Californians Collin Morikawa and Norman Xiong teamed up for a record-setting victory in the morning foursomes and then won their afternoon singles matches to help the United States take an 8-4 lead over defending champion Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup at Los Angeles Country Club’s North Course.
Morikawa and Xiong beat Harry Ellis and Alfie Plant 8 and 7 in the morning, the largest margin for an 18-hole match at the biennial amateur tournament that started in 1922.
Xiong, at 18 the youngest player in the matches, then beat Connor Syme 2 and 1 after rallying from three holes down after six. College golf’s top freshman last season at Oregon, he won five of the last 11 holes.
Morikawa, who plays at California, beat Paul McBride 3 and 2.
Braden Thornberry, the 2017 NCAA individual champion from Mississippi, sealed his 2-up win over Harry Ellis, the 2017 British Amateur champion, with a remarkable 6-iron shot from 200 yards that stopped a foot from the hole. Ellis conceded. Thornberry won four of the last five holes.
Americans Maverick McNealy and Doug Ghim also teamed for a win in foursomes and then won their singles matches.
The United States needs 13.5 points to regain the cup. The matches conclude Sunday.
In Crans-Montana, Switzerland, Scott Hend of Australia extended his lead to two strokes when play was suspended during the weather-affected European Masters third round.
Hend birdied the par-3 13th hole minutes before fading light forced the players off a second time. Earlier, fog shrouding the Swiss Alps course caused a two-hour, 24-minute stoppage.
Leading overnight by one shot, Hend was 2 over par for his 13 holes. Still, his 11 under total was two ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick of England, Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay, and Darren Fichardt of South Africa.
The four leading players were due back on course at 8 a.m. on Sunday to finish the third round.
The clubhouse leaders at 8 under were Marcus Fraser of Australia, Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark and Dean Burmester of South Africa.