Thompson, 21, hopes to win second major at KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Share story

In the youth movement that is the LPGA Tour, the top American is a 21-year-old bomber who qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at age 12.

Lexi Thompson, ranked No. 3 in the world, is the only American to win one of the 15 tournaments played so far this year. The oldest winner has been age 23.

Thompson is no stranger to low numbers in age or scores.

She qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2007 at age 12. She missed the cut at 86-82 but said she stayed around “just to soak it all in.” She calls it “an amazing experience” being among her role models. She also remembers signing autographs.

She was the youngest U.S. Women’s Open qualifier in history until 11-year-old Lucy Li qualified in 2014.

Thompson, who was home-schooled in Florida, turned pro at age 15 and won the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic at age 16, another record that has been broken. Lydia Ko won the CN Canadian Women’s Open in Vancouver in 2013 at age 15.

Thompson’s instructor for what she said Wednesday was “five or six years” was Seattle native Jim McLean.

“He’s a great guy and amazing instructor,” Thompson said. “I’m not very technical at all, so he knew how to work with me on just feeling things in my golf swing that I needed to work on and the shot shapes I needed to work on. We made a great team over the years we worked together.”

Thompson, a powerful 6-footer who has had measured drives of more than 300 yards, raised eyebrows Wednesday when she said she might use driver on as many as 10 holes. That could be flirting with trouble at narrow, tree-lined Sahalee.

Thompson is from a golf family. Brother Nicholas, has played on the PGA and the tours, and Curtis plays on the Tour.

Thompson is considered a lock for the U.S. Olympic team that will compete in Brazil in August.

“Winning a gold medal would be higher than anything, any win, anywhere,” she said.

Thompson said she “can’t understand” why some golfers plan to skip the Olympics.


• So far this year in 15 tournaments, there have been only nine holes-in-one on the LPGA Tour. Any golfer will tell you that aces are partskill, part luck but the fact that three of Sahalee’s four par-3s are challenging holes will make any ace here all that more special.

• Coach Mary Lou Mulflur and four members of the NCAA-champion University of Washington golf team visited Sahalee and were interviewed by The Golf Channel, which had televised the title victory over Stanford.

• There have been four multiple winners on the Tour with Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand with the past three, Ha Na Jang of South Korea with two, Haru Nomura of Japan with two and Lydia Ko of New Zealand with two.