LPGAs young Americans look promising

By Randall MellOctober 2, 2009, 3:25 am

PRATTVILLE, Ala. – Alexis Thompson thought the Navistar LPGA Classic would be a nice warm-up for next week’s big junior golf event.

It had, after all, been six weeks since the 14-year-old from Coral Springs, Fla., last teed it up in competition.

With school back in session, she knew she needed to knock off some rust before playing in the American Junior Golf Association’s Ping Invitational in Oklahoma.

“I haven’t played for awhile, and my dad was like, `You want to go up and try to qualify for this [LPGA] event?” Thompson said. “I was like, `Yeah, sure, why not?’ I might as well get some competition out of it and get me ready for my other events coming up.’”

Thompson didn’t mean to make light of leaping into contention in the first-round Thursday at the Senator Course at Capitol Hill on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. She was just being honest. This wasn’t in her grand golf plan this year. It wasn’t in her schedule until just recently. She played her way into the field through a qualifier after making the 11-hour drive from South Florida with her father, Scott, who also caddies for her.

Michelle Wie Navistar LPGA Classic
Michelle Wie reacts after making a birdie on the 18th hole during first round play in the Navistar LPGA Classic. (Getty Images)

There has to be something exasperating for tour pros to watch a ninth grader turn up at the last minute and shoot 7-under-par 65 after nearly a month-and-a-half away from any kind of competition. By the way, it was Thompson’s lowest score in competition, bettering the 66 she once shot in the PGA Junior Championship.

As it turns out, Thompson didn’t need to knock off any rust. She birdied her first two holes Thursday. She posted her score in the morning wave and her name stayed atop the leaderboard until nearly sunset. That’s when Janice Moodie birdied the final four holes, six of the last seven, to take a one-shot lead on Thompson.

Michelle Wie is in the hunt, too, two shots back with Lorena Ochoa. Wie seemed to rediscover her brilliance with a new putting stroke honed by Dave Stockton at the Solheim Cup. Her performance there motivated American teammate Juli Inkster to predict Wie would break through to win her first LPGA event before this season ended. The season’s nearly over. Wie will play just two more LPGA tournaments after this week.

Wie, 19, is in position to end a certain slump going on in women’s golf.

No player from the United States has won an LPGA event in 14 consecutive tournaments, the longest American drought within any of the LPGA’s 60 seasons.

Thompson and Wie, an amateur and a rookie, are the top two Americans on the leaderboard.

Thompson, of course, has a long way to go, but if she somehow keeps the magic going to Sunday she’ll be bidding to shock the world. She’ll be trying to become the first amateur to win an LPGA event since JoAnne Carner won the Burdines Invitational 40 years ago. She would be the youngest LPGA winner by about three-and-a-half years. Marlene Hagge was 18 years and 14 days when she won the Sarasota Open in 1952. Thompson would be 14 years, seven months and 24 days old on Sunday.

Yeah, that’s a large dream, but nobody who knows anything about Thompson was shocked to see her on the Navistar LPGA Classic leaderboard.

At 12, Thompson became the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open. She has already played in three of them and made the cut this year at Saucon Valley in Pennsylvania. Thompson tied for low amateur honors at the Kraft Nabisco earlier this year while playing on a sponsor’s exemption. She won the U.S. Junior Girls’ last year, has claimed two Junior PGA championships and made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur this summer.

In her post-round interview, Thompson was asked if she planned to go to college or turn pro. She gave the day’s best answer.

“I have no clue,” Thompson said. “I mean, I’m in ninth grade. I’m going to take it one grade at a time.”

Spoken like a true golfer.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

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Rory faces criticism

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President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

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Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


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Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

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Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

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Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

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Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

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Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm