Lexi Thompson born in Coral Springs, Florida, on February 10, 1995, saw a rise to fame unlike any other as a photogenic blonde girl with an imposing bearing and a height of 182 centimeters, comes, despite her youth. But she has faced many downs after a stellar rise to fame in the tennis world. In this article, we take a look at Lexi Thompson’s incredible but tumultuous career.
Lexi Thompson: From America’s Rising Star To Stormy Penalties (8 Career Facts)
1. At age 12, Thompson was the youngest qualifier in the U.S. Women’s Open:
A star was born, or will it be one of those meteorites that, due to its great speed, will end up disintegrating in space? The case of Lexi Thompson is, of course, explosive: during her first foray into the Grand Slam, Thompson signed 76 and 82 strokes and missed the cut, but her fame was already beginning to spread globally, having become the youngest player to have qualified to play the US Open (the previous record was in 2001, also at the age of 12 but somewhat older, the American Morgan Pressel).
When she was just 12 years old, her name hit the headlines when she qualified to play at the 2007 US Open. Another child prodigy, Michelle Wie, qualified for her first LPGA Tour tournament as a 12-year-old, but the Hawaiian didn’t win her first tournament until turning 20.
2. At 16, she became the youngest player to win on the LPGA Tour.
After becoming the youngest player to win a tournament on the American Women’s Circuit (LPGA Tour), Lexi Thompson broke the record held, since 1952, by her compatriot Marlene Haggem.
Of course, the latter achieved her record, at the Sarasota Open, when she was of legal age and she was 18 years old. As for the youngest player to win an American Tour tournament, the honor goes to Johnny McDermont, who was 19 when he won the United States Open, back in the distant year of 1911.
3. Lexi Thompson made history once again in 2007:
She won the Aldila Junior Classic, an American Junior Golf Association tournament, becoming the second youngest player to win a tournament on that circuit. She also won the Junior PGA Championship, and this time she was the youngest to do so.
In 2008 she also played the US Open, where she fell again on the cut. That same year she achieved what would be her only victory on the USGA Tour, the US Girls Junior Amateur. She was the second youngest winner to win that title, a record held by Aree Song. In 2009, at the age of 14, Lexi Thompson finally managed to finish the US Open, and also with a good result, which earned her 34th place. That same season she played another PGA Tour tournament, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she finished 21st.
4. She turned pro at age 15 in 2010:
At just 15 years old, she made the leap to professionalism to play seven tournaments on the American Circuit, two of which she failed to make the cut. Her best result was in the Evian Masters, where she took second place and a check for $242,000- just her third tournament as a professional.
Her victory at the Navistar LPGA Classic, in Prattville, Alabama, was a thorn in her mind for two years, when she shared the lead in that same tournament for the first two days. She might have made the big splash last spring, too, when she reached the final round of the Avnet LPGA Classic at the top of the standings, though in the end, she finished 19th.
The dream finally came true at Capitol Hill’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Senator Course. Her father, who had been her caddy until Lexi turned pro last year, couldn’t hold back tears at the excitement.
The very young champion accepted the check for $195,000 (of which she donated $20,000 to the tournament’s official charity, for war wounded).
5. Her first controversy on the LPGA Tour:
Her victory on the LPGA Tour has once again brought up the controversy over whether it is appropriate for such a young athlete to be a full member of the American Women’s Tour.
Being a minor, Lexi could not automatically enter the LPGA Tour, one of the rewards that come with winning a tournament. Thompson was forced to request an exception since one of the requirements to participate in the LPGA Tour is to be over 18 years of age. Everything was in the hands of the head of the LPGA Tour, commissioner Michael Whan.
Thompson petitioned the LPGA Tour for more tournament opportunities. Although the request was denied, the Tour agreed to waive the minimum age of 18 for her to access the 2011 Qualifying School that gives access to the 2012 American Tour.
Lexi passed –successfully, of course– the first phase of the aforementioned School. Then would come her resounding triumph on Capitol Hill.
As expected since Lexi’s agent announced the girl was withdrawing from the playoffs of Qualifying School, Whan was benevolent and agreed to make the young American star a full member of the LPGA Tour for the 2012 season.
6. She changed the rules of golf in 2017:
“I still have nightmares”: the terrible memory that haunts Lexi Thompson after the rule change which will prevent anyone from going through the ordeal she did.
Lexi Thompson’s tears went around the world a year ago after, by a viewer, she lost the chance to win a tournament that she was comfortably leading until the last day.
The American golfer could not hide her grief and disbelief when she was informed of the four-stroke punishment that was imposed on her and which ultimately proved decisive in her loss to the South Korean Ryu So-yeon.
It was a difficult situation to digest given the framework in which it happened, on the verge of winning the second major tournament of her career in the same place where she had won the first in 2014, which is now known as ANA Inspiration,
“The night was extremely difficult,” Thompson recalled what she experienced on the 17th hole of the third round, although she was warned of the penalty on the 12th hole of the last day when she was leading by two strokes.
The location: the golf course of the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, near the city of Palm Springs, United States. Thompson has only won one major tournament in her career, in 2014, at the same venue where she came close to winning the title last year.
7. Thanks to Lexi, submitting a card with an incorrect marker won’t be penalized:
Thompson received a two-shot penalty for placing the ball just over an inch from its original spot during the 17th hole of the third round of the tournament. It was an oversight that was not noticed by any judge at the time, but was evident after a viewer sent an email to the tournament organizers.
After reviewing the footage, the judges decided to punish Thompson, who was given another two strokes for presenting a card with the wrong number of strokes.
Her round went from 67 strokes (five under par) to 71 and she lost the lead she had when she was notified of the sanction.
“I was away from social networks after that because the press reproduced the incident and it made me feel terrible. I have to stop thinking about it and let time pass .”
Despite her disappointment, Thompson won two tournaments in 2017 and finished as player of the year.
Golfers will also not be penalized for submitting a card with an incorrect marker if they were unaware of the error.
“I’m just glad the rule was changed so no one else has to go through what I went through last year,” the golfer concluded.
Despite what happened, Thompson won two tournaments in 2017 and finished as the best player of the year on the professional women’s golf circuit.
8. Last year, Thompson was penalized for slow play:
It was a terrible end to the tournament for Lexi Thompson who was leading the KPMG Women’s PGA with 3 holes to play. In June of last year, the former great hope of American women’s golf faced a setback beyond the course.
It’s hard to get a crueler endgame because during the race for a second major title at 27, Lexi Thompson could not resist the pressure on the last 3 holes of the Congressional Country Club leaving the victory to South Korea’s Chun In-gee.
It all started on the 14th when Thompson missed a short putt just over 50cm for par. Back in the saddle by a birdie on the 15th, the American, winner of the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2014 , showed up at the start of the 16th with two strokes in advance.
The Florida native came out with a bogey after missing her chip and taking 3 putts, In two at the edge of the green of this par 5.
Still in the lead but this time tied with the future winner, Thompson conceded her third bogey in 4 holes on the 17th, hiding her tears behind sunglasses.
Sadly, misfortune never comes alone; the player was informed by the referees that she had been sanctioned for slow play like one of her two partners in the last game, Hye-Jin Choi. The two young women were fined $2,000!