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May 21

Lexi Thompson Sets the Tour Straight

Lexi Thompson Puts Together Four Unbeatable Rounds at Kingsmill

We’ve talked about it for weeks, the tragic, stupid, and embarrassing travesty of the weak-kneed USGA. They let someone like me snatch away a probable tour victory for Lexi Thompson. That means someone like me, leaning on a couch, Fritos Corn Chips and a brew by his side, took control of Lexi’s career, ranking, and income. The watery resolve of the USGA injected some insufficient mellowness into the rules for subsequent events, but the damage was done. It happened to Dustin Johnson in the U.S. Ooen, and Rory McIlroy called it “amateur hour.” I’m calling the Lexi incident the same thing…but I don’t want to talk about that anymore, because Lexi Thompson is not weak-kneed, and in the past few days, responded…big time.

Last week, the annual Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Virginia came due, and Lexi, the fourth or fifth player in the world, dropped in on her pro-am tee time. No, I really mean it. She sky-dived, parachuted, fell out of the sky, jumped out of an airplane to make her time. We always knew the quality of her game, with seven career wins by the age of 22, although it might have been eight – who knows? Parachuting into the event, however, gives us both perspective on her capacity for gutsy actions, and her unvoiced but obvious intention to do some serious business. She accomplished this by putting together four rounds of golf that were simply too excellent to be overcome, even by fellow stars having a great week. On the first day, she carded a 65. To drive home the point, she duplicated the feat on the second day. Taking a breather on day 3, she relaxed the onslaught just a little, coming in with a 67. At this point, she led by three, which tells us that someone did try to give chase. In Gee Chun carded three birdies in her first seven holes on Sunday, hoping to make it a horse race. Chun was, by this point, the only other player on the course who could put Lexi’s lead in doubt.  However, Lexi enjoyed the first two rounds so much that she saw fit to do it again, another 65. No matter how well you’re playing, beating three 65s and a 67 is a tall order. It didn’t matter that Lydia Ko was still ranked #1 in the world for a body of work. This week, Lexi dominated the Commonwealth of Virginia like a Marvel superhero, In winning the Kingsmill in such convincing fashion, she also reached minus 20, the tournament record. And whose record did she break? Annika Sorenstam’s.
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Lexi’s aerial entrance wasn’t just the impulse of a 22-year old. It had a purpose and a plan.  She has teamed up with the Navy Seals on a new foundation, “Lexi Legacy Challenge.” The representative color is blue. Assuming she is still playing on Saturday and Sunday, a pretty safe bet most of the time, it will be pink for the third round, and blue for the fourth. Lexi hasn’t backed off on Breast Cancer Awareness one bit.

Many times in the past, I have commented on Lexi Thompson’s mental ferocity as seen from behind the ropes of the range. Now the world has seen it, as packed tightly into four spectacular rounds of golf. The USGA should tell its operators to hold all calls from amateur home-bodies, and never bother this player again. If making her mad produces this kind of concentration in a tsunami of talent, a monster could be created. Count me as one of Lexi’s cheering fans – three 65s…sheesh!

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About the author

G.F. Skipworth

has spent every available moment playing golf or studying the greats since the 60s, in between world tours as a classical musician, Harvard studies in Government or as the author of a dozen novels. Nicklaus and Snead may be the statistical greats, but Skipworth is a life-long devotee of Gary Player, and considers meeting the South African at the Jeld-Wen to be an unforgettable milestone. His driving passion in golf these days is to raise viewer interest in the LPGA.