16-year-old Lexi Thompson came into the final round of the Navistar LPGA Classic with two things going for her: a 5-shot lead and playing the course on which she scores best on the LPGA Tour. With a steady hand most of the day and great approach play when she needed it most, Thompson became the youngest winner in the 6-plus decade history of the tour.
Thompson cared a final round 2-under 69 to finish on 17-under par. She won in Alabama five clear if Tiffany Joh, unseating Paula Creamer as the youngest winner of a 72-hole event by some two years. Thompson did so six years after Creamer won the Sybase Classic. Marlene Hagge was the youngest winner of any LPGA event, taking the 1952 Sarasota Open.
Getting out of the gate early, Thompson made a birdie at the par-3 second hole. With another birdie at the eighth, Thompson led by seven at the turn.
Joh made a run at the teen on the back nine at the Capitol Hill Senator Course with four consecutive birdies from 12 through 15. Thompson responded with birdies at the 16th and 17th to lock up the win.
Thompson is not currently a member of the LPGA Tour and had been planning to compete in the second stage of Q-school at the end of the month. Since she is under the age floor of 18 for membership, Thompson had to seek and was given special dispensation from commissioner Mike Whan to attempt qualification.
Despite the win, Thompson is not automatically given membership. She will still need to compete in Q-school for membership. In a statement, Mike Whan said, “Should Lexi qualify for LPGA membership via her Q-School performance, she will be an LPGA member for the 2012 season.”Further Resources: