‘Girl power!’ 12 questions after Lexi Thompson’s day on the PGA Tour

By: Nick Piastowski
October 12, 2023

“Girl power!”

Around quarter-after 1 local time, from a spot close to the first tee at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, someone shouted two words of encouragement, and Lexi Thompson smiled. She’d just said a short prayer. She’d been staring ahead. On her walk up to the tee box, she signed a quick autograph. Thompson always has time for her fans, even on this stage. And what a day it was.

Thursday, during the first round of the Shriners Children’s Open, Thompson became the seventh woman ever to play a round on the PGA Tour, but the “girl” appeared calm. The mood of the “girl” appeared serene. And then the “girl” powered.

Thompson’s first shot with the ‘boys’ was a bomb, a 302-yard poke into the right fairway bunker. And away she went. Ahead of Thursday, much had been made of this all — most of it was supportive, though one player called it a “gimmick” — but Thompson herself was thrilled. And ready. In women’s golf, she’s a star, with 11 wins over her 13-year pro career, including a major. She’s a bomber, too.

Some of this week wasn’t new, either. The 28-year-old from Florida has been playing pro events since she was 12. She regularly plays with her brothers, Curtis and Nicholas, who both made Tour appearances. Now there are three Thompsons with that distinction. Lexi spoke of her turn hopefully being an inspiration.

And then, five-plus hours after she started, Thompson marked her ball on the 17th green and picked it up, as darkness suspended play until Friday morning. She was done. She was one-over par for her first round with a hole-plus to play, and she was tied for 76th in the 131-player field, 10 shots behind leader Beau Hossler. Noted. But how’d Thompson look? What were the highlights? The lowlights? The numbers? The comments? What do we make of it all? Read on.

What were Lexi Thompson’s highlights?

  • The drives. On her very first drive on the PGA Tour, Thompson thumped it 302 yards. On the second hole, she sent it 304. On the fourth hole, she pounded it 316 yards. On the 13th hole, she drilled it 310 yards. Those play.
  • Reaching the 552-yard, par-5 9th in two. This was great. Thompson, from 262 yards out, found the green, and she two-putted for a four.
  • Almost reaching the 598-yard, par-5 13th in two. This was good. Thompson, from 279 yards out, dropped her second shot just in front of the green, and she took shots from there for another four.
  • The first birdie. On the 466-yard, par-4 2nd, Thompson was flawless. Drive down the left side of the fairway. Iron, from 164 yards out, to 22 feet. And a birdie.
  • The sundown shot. With the sun setting, Thompson dropped her third shot on the 511-yard, par-5 16th to 8 feet. She missed the birdie putt, though.
  • Par saves. On the 194-yard, par-3 5th and the 394-yard, par-4 10th, Thompson rolled in 3-footers for par. On the 403-yard, par-4 6th, she rolled in a 10-footer for par. Those helped.

What were Lexi Thompson’s lowlights?

  • The ugly putts. This has been a bugaboo of Thompson’s over the years. On the 419-yard, par-4 1st, she missed a 8-footer for birdie badly to the left. On the 371-yard, par-4 7th, she three-putted from 12 feet and double-bogeyed. On the 230-yard, par-3 8th, from 24 feet away, she left a par putt 6 feet short.
  • The double bogey. On the 7th, after a drive into the left rough, Thompson worked her ball to just in front of the green and 65 feet away. She took four shots from there.
  • The 8th hole. Thompson’s tee shot on the lengthy par-3 came up about 30 yards short.
  • On the 195-year, par-3 17th, the darkness horn sounded, but Thompson questionably elected to play — and she hit into a right greenside bunker and then hit out. She could have chosen to play the hole on Friday.

This was most notable, from swing coach Shauheen Nakhjavani: “Lexi is 91st on the money list on the LPGA Tour this year and yet she’s still just 1 shot off the cut line on the PGA TOUR,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “I hope this is a wake up call to the 3 handicaps that they stand no chance against these women. As someone who’s had the pleasure to work with a few of them, they would literally smoke you”

What did Lexi Thompson’s scorecard look like?

Here is the complete breakdown:

Hole 1 419-yard par-4 (par): Shot 1: 302 yards to the right fairway bunker, 126 yards to the hole Shot 2: 123 yards to the green, 8 feet, 7 inches to the hole Shot 3: Putt 9 feet, 1 inches, 2 feet, 7 inches to the hole Shot 4: In the hole

Hole 2 466-yard par-4 (birdie): Shot 1: 304 yards to the left fairway, 164 yards to the hole Shot 2: 162 yards to the green, 22 feet, 8 inches to the hole Shot 3: In the hole

Hole 3 453-yard par-4 (bogey): Shot 1: 270 yards to the left fairway, 175 yards to the hole Shot 2: 179 yards to the left fairway, 37 feet, 9 inches to the hole Shot 3: 45 feet, 2 inches to the green, 13 feet, 3 inches to the hole Shot 4: Putt 12 feet, 3 inches, 13 inches to the hole Shot 5: In the hole

Hole 4 449-yard par-4 (par): Shot 1: 316 yards to right fairway, 134 yards to the hole Shot 2: 146 yards to the fringe, 53 feet, 2 inches to the hole Shot 3: 51 feet, 4 inches to the green, 23 inches to the hole Shot 4: In the hole

Hole 5 194-yard par-3 (par): Shot 1: 192 yards to the green, 45 feet, 7 inches to the hole Shot 2: Putt 42 feet, 6 inches, 3 feet, 1 inches to the hole Shot 3: In the hole

Hole 6 403-yard par-4 (par): Shot 1: 286 yards to the right fairway, 118 yards to the hole Shot 2: 132 yards to the left fairway, 44 feet, 8 inches to the hole Shot 3: 55 feet, 0 inches to the green, 10 feet, 2 inches to the hole Shot 4: In the hole

Hole 7 371-yard par-4 (double bogey): Shot 1: 244 yards to the left rough, 115 yards to the hole Shot 2: 116 yards to the right fairway, 65 feet, 8 inches to the hole Shot 3: 54 feet, 9 inches to the green, 12 feet, 11 inches to the hole Shot 4:


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