Spotlight on Golf

Golfer Lexi Thompson’s first LPGA major win is a major confidence booster

Lexi Thompson jumps into Poppy's Pond after winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship golf tournament Sunday, April 6, 2014, in Rancho Mirage, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Lexi Thompson jumps into Poppy's Pond after winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship golf tournament Sunday, April 6, 2014, in Rancho Mirage, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson / AP

Special to the Miami Herald

The distance from Coral Springs to Rancho Mirage, Calif., is a long, long ways, some 2,600 miles.

However, Lexi Thompson, at age 19, loves both places.

Coral Springs is her home, the place where she grew up and learned how to play golf — and play it extremely well. Rancho Mirage is the place where she accomplished one of her all-time goals of winning a LPGA major, which she did Sunday by winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club.

“This is what I’ve worked my whole life for and practiced my butt off for,” Thompson said.

Then she added that her first major will hopefully lead to even bigger things.

“I think winning this tournament has helped out my confidence a lot,” Thompson added. “I’ve always imagined winning this tournament and how I would win it, but it’s a dream come true.

“But it doesn’t change who I am. It obviously changes my confidence going into each event, but I’m still going to practice and work on improving stuff in my game that needs to be improved on.”

Thompson has been playing golf in South Florida for so long it seems improbable that she is still only 19. A long and prosperous future has and will be beckoning her.

By prosperous, we mean she already has made more than $3 million in tournament winnings from the LPGA and other tours. Throw in a few endorsements and you can figure out she’s living comfortably.

And she is not the only standout golfer in the Thompson family. Her two brothers, Nick and Curtis, are also both successes at whacking a golf ball. Older brother Nick is an up-and-coming standout on the PGA Tour, and younger brother Curtis is a top player at LSU who has won the Dixie Amateur twice.

Father Scott, who is the one who first taught his kids the game, and mother Judy have been in the gallery for almost all of the big moments over the years. Actually, at various times, Scott has caddied for all three of them.

The stress at the end of the Kraft Nabisco was minimal as Lexi held a four-stroke lead as she teed off on No. 18 and finished with a three-shot victory over Michelle Wie. That sort of lead allowed Lexi the time to celebrate and feel good in her mind even though she said, “I actually didn’t look at the leaderboard. I looked at one on No. 9 and didn’t look at one the whole back nine. I figured I had a few-shot lead, but I just played aggressive.”

However, for Lexi, there actually was one stressful part of winning at Mission Hills.

Tradition calls for the winner to jump into Poppie’s Pond, which is just off the 18th green.

“The first time I thought about it,” Lexi said, “was going up to the 18th green. I just kind of went for it, made sure I jumped in far enough into the deep part, and I guess I did a cannonball. I just jumped.”

Once in the water, she savored the experience.

“It was a little cold,” she said, “but it felt really good because it was so hot. It was probably about 90 [degrees] out. But it was everything I imagined.”

A major, even if you are soaking wet, will do that for you.


Bob Ford holds the record for the longest putt made in tournament golf. During the International Four-Ball Pro-Am tournament in 1976 he holed a 140-foot, 2¾-inch putt at St. Andrews’ 18th hole.

Read more Golf stories from the Miami Herald

  • Kim moves to 10th in world rankings

    Thanks to his second consecutive win, Billy Horschel has moved into the top 20 in this week's world rankings.

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hit from off the fairway on the ninth hole during the final round of play in the Tour Championship golf tournament  Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in Atlanta.

    McIlroy fades in season finale, Horschel wins

    Rory McIlroy found his ball submerged in deep rough, next to a fence that separates the course from the driving range at East Lake. He jumped up and down, trying to see over a holly bush that obscured his view of the ninth green.

  • This Week in Golf -- September 18-21

    Of those four, Westwood was the only one on the 2010 European Ryder Cup team, when they regained the cup by beating the United States at Celtic Manor.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category