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Swing Sequence: Alexis Thompson

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March 2011
Swing Sequence: Alexis Thompson

'I think my length comes from competing with my
brothers, and trying to hit it as long as they do.'

AIMING HIGH

The first thing the uninitiated notices about Alexis Thompson, Lexi for short, is her engaging smile. But make no mistake, behind this phenom's pearly whites is a serious competitor who led the U.S. Curtis Cup team to victory in June, going 4-0-1 in the matches, then turned pro at 15--she'll be 16 on Feb. 10. In a sport with no sure things, she might be just that.

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Age: 15 | Height: 5-foot-11
Hometown: Coral Springs, Fla.
Driver: Cobra S2, 8.5 degrees, Fujikura ZCom shaft, stiff flex
Ball: Callaway i(z)
Status: Playing LPGA Tour on sponsor's exemptions, but could try to qualify on Mondays for additional tournaments.

Swing Sequence: Alexis Thompson
At 5-foot-11, Thompson is long and strong. Her prodigious length--she bombed one 327 yards at the Kraft Nabisco last spring--is the product of keeping up with the boys, namely older brothers Nicholas (once a regular on the PGA Tour) and Curtis, who is headed to LSU on a golf scholarship. "I think my length comes from competing with my brothers, and trying to hit it as long as they do," Thompson says.

Her quick rise in the game began in 2007 when she became the youngest player (12 years, four months) to compete in a U.S. Women's Open, breaking a record held by Morgan Pressel. It continued last year when she turned pro and earned enough money in five LPGA starts to achieve fully exempt status for 2011 if not for a technicality involving "official" earnings and the tour's age restriction of 18 (see Risk-Takers). She requested the right to 12 sponsor's exemptions (she's allowed six) but was denied by the tour.

Thompson is working diligently on her game with Golf Digest Teaching Professional Jim McLean. "She has the will to be a great player and the drive to do what it takes to accomplish that goal," McLean says. "She hits powerful shots, from her short irons to her driver, and is working hard on upgrading her short shots. A lot of our time is spent on putting. She's learning fast with the short game. When she gets that, she'll be very tough to beat."

Proof of her improved short game lies in shots like the 95-yard lob wedge she hit close for a birdie on the 72nd hole at last year's Evian Masters to tie for second.

It appears it won't be long before Lexi starts shaking things up on the LPGA Tour. She just hopes it happens this year.
--Pete McDaniel
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