PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – It’s tough to walk the course at the Web.com Tour Championship without running into a Thompson.
Curtis, the youngest sibling from the Florida golfing family, is in search of his PGA Tour card after completing his rookie season on the developmental circuit. So too is older brother, Nicholas, a PGA Tour veteran looking to get back to the big leagues.
Then there is the rooting section – parents, wives, family friends and sister Lexi, who came to cheer on her brothers before heading out for the LPGA’s Asian swing.
There was plenty to cheer about Thursday, as the brothers Thompson combined to shoot 7 under. They were led by Curtis, whose opening 66 left him three shots off the lead. After missing the cut in each of the first three Finals events, he has adopted an aggressive approach knowing only a high finish will suffice.
“Top five or bust, so I’m going out there with all I’ve got,” he said.
Nicholas opened with a 3-under 67. Like his brother, he needs a big week at TPC Sawgrass, but unlike Curtis he is already equipped with conditional PGA Tour status next season thanks to his FedEx Cup standing.
Nicholas, 32, also has more experience on the Dye’s Valley Course than Curtis, 22, and he tried to offer some course management tips during their shared practice round – admittedly with mixed results.
“I told him how I played the course. He’s got my dad on the bag who I’ve told even more to, because sometimes Curtis doesn’t listen,” he said. “He’s in a little different league. He hits it about 30 [yards] by me on the tee, so it’s a little different story. But I tried my best to help. Whether he listens or not is the question.”
As for Lexi, fresh off her role in the American Solheim Cup victory, she was able to split her time equally between brothers – front nine with Nicholas, back nine with Curtis. With both rounds done by lunch time, she planned to try to squeeze in nine holes on the adjacent Stadium Course and will fly Saturday to Asia.
“It’s nice. I don’t get to watch them play very often,” she said. “So it’s nice to have them both here and playing in Florida.”