The better Alexis Thompson plays, the more a certain question will be pressed.
Will she petition the LPGA in a bid to gain membership next year?
As a 15-year-old, Thompson would need a waiver of the LPGA’s rule requiring members be at least 18 years old.
In her first start since tying for 10th at the U.S. Women’s Open, Thompson put up a 3-under-par 69 Thursday at the Evian Masters. She’s tied for 13th there. Notably, her brother, PGA Tour pro Nicholas Thompson, is tied for 13th at the RBC Canadian Open.
Though Alexis is making just her third start as a professional, her strong play is intensifiying interest in her LPGA plans.Thompson put on an impressive show outplaying Ai Miyazato by 10 shots and Jiyai Shin by two shots in their grouping together in the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open. Miyazato currently holds the No. 1 world ranking in women's golf. Shin held the top spot before Miyazato.
Yes, it's still early, but what’s Thompson's plan?
“We have no plans at this time to petition the LPGA,” Bobby Kreusler, her agent at Blue Giraffe Sports, told GolfChannel.com Thursday by telephone from France. “We’ve never had any intention to petition the LPGA, but I can’t tell you what’s going to happen if she goes out and wins a tournament. That’s a hypothetical. Right now, we’re comfortable seeing how the year progresses and Lexi plays.”
Thompson missed the cut in her pro debut at the Shoprite LPGA Classic at the end of June, but she made $72,131 two weeks later at the U.S. Women's Open in her first paycheck from a professional tournament. If Thompson were an LPGA member, she would rank 62nd on this week's money list by virtue of that first paycheck.
Thompson has three LPGA sponsor's exemptions left this season. She'll use them to play the CN Canadian Women's Open Aug. 26-29, the P&G NW Arkansas Championship Sept. 10-12 and the Navistar LPGA Classic Oct. 7-10.
Kreusler said the present plan next year is for Thompson to play 15 to 17 professional events. She would seek her limit of six LPGA appearances as a non-member, pursue opportunities at the Australian Women's Open and Australian Ladies Masters and seek spots in Ladies European Tour and Japan LPGA events.
Aree Song was the first player to seek a waiver of the LPGA's 18-year-old age limit. She was granted that when she was 17 in 2003. Two years later, Morgan Pressel also was granted a waiver that allowed her to join the tour at 17.