Thompson hopes membership frees up game

By Randall MellJuly 6, 2011, 2:21 pm

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Lexi Thompson concedes it’s been difficult building momentum as a 16-year-old playing on sponsor exemptions this year, and she hopes winning LPGA membership frees her up.

News arrived Tuesday that Thompson will be heading to LPGA Qualifying School this summer in a bid to win tour membership after being granted a waiver of the tour’s requirement that members be 18 years old.

“It would definitely help to be able to play every week if I wanted,” Thompson said at the U.S. Women’s Open at The Broadmoor. “It’s different when you’re playing and you know you’ll have to wait another month to play again, but it’s not something I’ve focused on.”

Thompson, who had a strong run at the Avnet LPGA Classic in early May before a final-round stumble, is looking to find her best form after a sluggish start to the first half of the season.

Thompson’s worldwide record so far this year:

Women’s Australian Open – MC.

Australian ANZ Ladies Masters – T-42.

LPGA Kia Classic Monday Qualifier – MC.

Avnet LPGA Classic – T-19.

Ladies European Tour’s German Open – MC.

ShopRite LPGA Classic – MC.

LPGA State Farm Classic Monday qualifier – MC.

LPGA Championship – MC.

While Thompson’s struggled to find her rhythm this year, this is the time she got hot last year. She tied for 10th at the U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont and then nearly won the Evian Masters, tying for second. She says she loves The Broadmoor's layout and will hit driver most every chance.

As a non-member, Thompson’s limited to six LPGA starts on sponsor exemptions this year, plus the U.S. Women’s Open and Ricoh Women’s British Open.

“It definitely creates a pressure situation,” Bobby Kreusler, Thompson’s agent, said. “With limited starts, where you don’t have next week promised to you, Lexi puts additional pressure on herself. Lexi’s such a competitor, she puts pressure on herself.”

While the push for LPGA membership gives the feeling there’s a rush to make things happen professionally for Thompson, Kreusler said that’s not the case. He says this year's struggles and pressures are all part of the learning process.

“Our plan is to get Lexi prepared to play at the highest level in two to three years,” Kreusler said.

If Thompson plays well this week, it could impact her Q-School start. She’s scheduled to play the first-stage qualifier July 26-29 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. However, at No. 120 in the Rolex World Rankings, if she can bump into the top 100 in next Monday’s rankings, she will exempt herself from first stage. That’s significant because Thompson will have to withdraw from the Ricoh Women’s British Open qualifier to compete in the first stage of LPGA Q-School.

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Lewis wins Portugal Masters for second time

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 6:19 pm

VILAMOURA, Portugal – Tom Lewis won the Portugal Masters for a second time after shooting a 5-under 66 in Sunday's final round.

Lewis finished three strokes ahead of fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell (67) and Australia's Lucas Herbert (71).

Sergio Garcia prepared for the Ryder Cup next weekend with a 65 to finish seven strokes behind Lewis.

Lewis made six birdies along with a single bogey on No. 10 to finish the tournament at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course on 22-under 262.

Herbert led through the first three rounds only to struggle on the final day. He hit a double bogey on the final hole to finish the round on par.

Lewis had trailed Herbert by nine shots after the first round.

''It's been a rough ride but this week I played hard,'' Lewis said. ''I obviously got off to a bad start, to finish the way I've been finishing has been brilliant.''

Lewis first won the tournament in 2011.

''I think this one means more,'' Lewis said, ''it means a lot to come and win this again.''

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods has a three-shot lead entering the final round of the Tour Championship and is alongside Rory McIlroy in the final group. We're tracking him.

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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

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McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”