Sixteen-year-old high school junior Lexi Thompson set a record Sunday when she became the youngest golfer ever to win an LPGA tournament.
Thompson, who turned pro at age 15, fired a final-round 2-under-par 70 to cap a five-stroke victory in the Navistar LPGA Classic. She finished with a 17-under 271` on rounds of 66-68-67-70 at the Robert Trent Jones Trail's Capitol Hill complex in Prattville, Ala.
"I was just focusing on playing the golf course and do the best I could do," said Thompson, who also holds the record for being the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open (she was 12). "I was nervous on the first tee, I won't lie. If you're not nervous, you don't care. Once I hit the first tee shot, I was like, 'All right, I'm good.' …
"It's been my dream my whole life just to play out here. Getting a win right now, I can't describe the feelings, but it's the best feeling ever."
Thompson, with her father, Scott, serving as caddy, broke age records previously held by Paula Creamer and Marlene Hagge, who were both 18 when they won tournmanents.
Thompson, who won $195,000, will not receive automatic LPGA Tour membership because of her age. Thompson would have to petition the LPGA for an exemption of its 18-year-old age requirement. The LPGA already granted her petition for qualifying school, and she won the first stage by 10 strokes in July.
"She was hitting shots where I would look at my caddie and go 'What?' She was hitting shots other girls can't hit," said Tiffany Joh, who played in the final group with Thompson and finished in second place. "It was really impressive. She's going to be great."