Thompson a veteran at 14


BETHLEHEM, Pa. – At 14, Alexis Thompson no longer holds the distinction of being the youngest player in the field at a U.S. Women's Open. That honor this week belongs to 13-year-old Cindy Feng, from China. It's hard to believe, but Thompson is somewhat of a veteran at this U.S. Open, her third.

In 2007 at Pine Needles, Thompson was the youngest-ever Open qualifier at 12 years, four months and one day. Last year at Interlachen, she was the youngest in the field at 13, and missed the cut by only two strokes. This year, the 2008 U.S. Girls' Junior champion will bring to Saucon Valley Country Club more Open experience than a lot of players in the field, including 2009 McDonald's LPGA champ Anna Nordqvist.

'My goal is to just shoot under par, which will be hard to do because this course is so long,' said Thompson, who is the No. 1 ranked player in the Polo Junior Golf rankings. 'I'm used to playing courses that are 6,200 yards, not 6,700, and par 4s that are 400 yards at most. There's a par 4 here (the par-4 7th hole) that plays more than 450 yards. I'm just going to play my game and hope it's good enough.'

At 6,740 yards, Saucon Valley's Old Course is the second-longest setup in U.S. Women's Open history, behind only Interlachen Country Club (6,789 yards). Thompson knows if she has any chance of making her first cut in a U.S. Open, she'll have to drive the ball extremely well.

'I've got to get the driver down in play because the rough is so thick out there,' said Thompson, who played the front nine on Monday morning. 'The more crooked you are, the deeper the rough gets. Everything will be good if I can just keep the ball in the fairway.'