TPC Summerlin, one of the PGA Tour’s great birdiefests, will require Lexi Thompson to go low

Lexi Thompson expressed her desire to make the cut at the 2023 Shriners Children’s Open, affirming it as one of her greatest achievements to date. The last woman to achieve this feat was Babe Zaharias prior to the formation of the LPGA. Thompson joins a select group of women, becoming the seventh to compete in a PGA Tour event since Brittany Lincicome at the 2018 Barbasol Championship.

Thompson faces an uphill battle to make the cut, requiring an exceptional performance over the two days. The average cut score over the past five years has been approximately 5 under par. The average winning score at TPC Summerlin, with a par of 71, during that period has been 23 under par.

In 2020, the cut fell at a score of 7 under par when Martin Laird emerged as the champion. Last year, TPC Summerlin recorded 1,956 birdies, ranking third in the PGA Tour for the 2022-2023 season behind Rocket Mortgage and The CJ Cup Byron Nelson.

However, Thompson’s birdie statistics this season do not reflect her current form. Despite typically being one of the top ball-strikers on tour and consistently ranking in the top five for greens in regulation, Thompson is currently 61st in GIR and 126th in total birdies.

Thompson’s limited schedule could be a factor in her performance, as she has only made 13 LPGA starts in 2023, ranking 137th on the tour. Nevertheless, Thompson has shown remarkable improvement in her past three LPGA starts, including the Solheim Cup.

In her first nine events this year, Thompson averaged a scoring average of 73.41. However, in her last three starts, she has averaged an impressive 68.9, a significant drop of 4.51 strokes. In relation to par, Thompson was 35 over in her first nine starts and has been 27 under in her most recent three starts.

Lexi Thompson at Shriners Children's Open

Lexi Thompson of the United States looks on during a practice round prior to the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin on October 11, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)

Thompson’s powerful game will benefit from the elevated terrain of the 7,255-yard PGA Tour setup. She currently ranks 12th on the LPGA in driving distance with an average of 270.7 yards. However, it is important to note that the LPGA only measures distance for two holes each week, and Thompson often opts for a different club off the tee.

She is excited about the opportunity to unleash her driver throughout the tournament and tackle the challenge of accumulating numerous birdies. Thompson has a strong history in desert golf, particularly at Mission Hills Country Club where she won the LPGA’s spring major in 2014.

“I get to hit driver basically on every hole, which is nice,” said Thompson. “Usually I get to do that more in major championships. So to be able to come out here and freely swing with the driver and face longer approach shots to the greens, it definitely has a more major tournament feel.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek


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