Antonini: A Hectic Week for the Thompson Family
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- The schedulers at the PGA of America and the USGA didn't do Nicholas Thompson and his family any favors this week. Thompson, a third-year tour player, is competing in his first PGA Championship, meanwhile across the country at Eugene (Ore.) CC, Thompson's 13-year-old sister, Alexis, was playing in the U.S. Women's Amateur.
She qualified for match play, but lost in the first round to Jennifer Hirano Wednesday. From there it got hectic. "My dad and [Alexis] flew in on the red-eye and they got here at 9:30 a.m. Thursday," said Nicholas. "They waited like an hour for their bags. A cop gave them a ride to the Silverdome and they took public transportation [to the course.] I was already here practicing. I would have picked them up had they come in an hour earlier. They got here at 12:30 p.m. Right on time."
That was Nicholas' first-round tee-time, and he played well for his sister and father, shooting a 71. They followed him again Friday when he shot a five-birdie 72, that inlcuded a double and two bogeys in his final five holes. It turned what would have been a very good day into a just-better-than-average one.
"I'd like my score a lot more if it was three shots better," said Thompson, who said the course was a beast, but stopped short of calling it the toughest he has ever played. "The U.S. Amateur at Oakmont," he said without hesitation. "This can't get to that one. The greens there were faster and the rough was way deeper."
He admitted he was disappointed to see Alexis in his gallery. "I did not want to see her here because that meant she was not playing in the amateur," Nicholas said. "But she did win the [U.S. Girls] Junior. She's the first and only USGA champion in our family."
He smiled and quickly added, "So far."
-- John Antonini