Teen taking LPGA by storm

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Alexis (Lexi) Thompson doesn't come across as someone who gets overwhelmed by too many situations.

The 15-year-old sensation from Coral Springs, Fla., turned professional earlier this year and has taken the LPGA Tour by storm.

After missing the cut in her professional debut, Thompson has collected more than $314,000 in earnings in her next three events and come up with a tie for 10th at the U.S. Women's Open and tie for second at the Evian Masters.

"It's been a lot of fun for me -- all the tournaments I've played in have been a great experience, playing against the best players in the world," Thompson said after playing nine holes at St. Charles Country Club on Monday in preparation of the CN Canadian Women's Open. "I missed the cut in my first tournament, but I think I was just so happy to be there. I don't know what happened."

Thompson's drive to succeed is evident even in casual conversation and part of that comes from competing against her two older brothers, Curtis (a high school junior who is headed to U.S. college golf) and Nicholas, who is on the PGA Tour.

"I've always looked up to my brother (Nicholas), he's been a great role model for me to look up to and I'm trying to follow in his footsteps," said Thompson.

"My brothers pretty much got me started in golf, along with my dad. It's made me a lot better. I played from the back (tees) with them and would always say 'I'm going to out drive you on this one' and I'd be 50 yards shot. But it makes me want to beat them and compete with them. I think that's where I got my fire from."

Thompson became the youngest player to compete in the U.S. Women's Amateur at the age of 12 and she'll never forget taking her first tee shot.

"That was crazy for me, my legs shaking, I was so nervous," said Thompson, whose mother Judy is a cancer survivor. "I was just so excited, I was more of a fan than a player there. I was just mesmerized by everybody there and I wasn't worried about my game."

Nerves aren't really a factor for Thompson these days, but she still gets butterflies.

"I still get nervous on the first tee a little bit," she conceded. "If you don't, that just means that you don't care. But once I get that first tee shot done, I'm good to go."

Turning pro in mid-June just seemed like the right thing to do.

"Just watching (the LPGA Tour) on TV, I knew I wanted to be out there and take my game to the next level," said Thompson.

Thompson can't actually become a full-time LPGA player until she turns 18, but she's hoping to gain an early exemption, just like Morgan Pressel did.

Regardless of when that time comes, Thompson is hoping to leave her mark on the sport before she's done.

"Yeah, I want to be one of the best players in the world -- in the future," said Thompson, noting that Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam and Juli Inkster were some of her favourite players growing up. "That's definitely one of my goals. To be a well-known player, both on and off the golf course. I want to be a role model, that would be really cool."

While some 15-year-olds wouldn't appreciate having their father in close proximity, Thompson is happy to have dad Scott on the course with her as a caddie.

"It's really nice," said Thompson, who started playing golf when she was five.

"We get into our little fights about clubs, but it's not that bad. He knows my game really well and I think we make a great team."

Scott was fully supportive when Lexi said she was ready to turn pro.

"I thought she was ready and I knew that her game was ready," said Scott. "It's a blast, I don't even know how to describe it."


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