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A middle childs gritty fight at the US Junior

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Curtis Thompson could strike a blow this week for all those gritty kids born as the middle child.

Curtis, 17, has never gained the acclaim that his older brother, Nicholas, has in making it to the PGA Tour or that his younger sister, Alexis, has winning just about everything on her way to turning pro as a 15-year-old this year.

And yet Curtis is a talented junior, as he showed again Monday winning medalist honors at the U.S. Junior Championship at Egypt Valley Country Club in Ada, Mich.

If Curtis wins the national championship this week, and that’s asking a lot in the rigorous match play format, he’ll help the family from Coral Springs, Fla., make history. The Thompsons would become the first brother-sister combination to win the U.S. Junior and U.S. Girls’ Junior championships. Alexis won the title in ’08.

Yeah, Curtis, who’s headed to LSU on a golf scholarship, has to be feeling more pressure than most juniors this week, but that's his lot in life.

You have to feel for Curtis. It can’t be easy being asked about your more famous siblings all the time and trying so diligently to keep up and make your own name. Know this, though, Curtis has serious game. 

“Curtis is the most gifted of the three of us,” Nicholas once told me. “He is the most talented.”

Know this, too. Curtis would have won a lot more as a junior, but his father, Scott, always played him up in class against juniors two and three years older than he was. It's a big part of Scott's philosophy in accelerating development.

“Nobody questions me playing Lexi up,” Scott once told me. “But people question me playing Curtis up. People have said I'm hurting his ability to win. I don't argue with them, but I can see how Curtis has moved a step ahead of kids he grew up playing with, maybe two steps ahead.”

In concluding, also know this about Curtis. He might be as responsible as anyone for his sister’s swift rise. They played together almost every day growing up. And it was in keeping up with Curtis, Lexi actually got ahead.