Young golfer Lexi Thompson discusses growing up on course, winning tournament

Lexi Thompson
Lexi Thompson // Photo courtesy Flickr user Keith Allison

Lexi Thompson is unfair. She isn’t old enough to legally buy alcohol yet, but at 20 years old, Thompson is already one of the best female golfers in the world. Instead of sitting through an economics class, she’s traveling around the world and winning tournaments against distinguished athletes for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In fact, Thompson was putting kids her age to shame before she was even a teenager. In 2007, Thompson became the youngest player ever to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open at just 12 years old. Her success at such a young age wasn’t an accident.

“I started golfing when I was five years old,” said Thompson outside the BB&T Center, where the Wings for Life World Run training day was taking place on Saturday afternoon. “I started taking it very seriously probably around 8 to 10 years old, and probably when I made it to my first women’s U.S. Open at the age of 12. That’s when I knew I wanted to play on the LPGA.”

The Coral Springs native took advantage of having a golf course right outside of her house, as well as having two older brothers who also play golf competitively.

“We lived on a golf course ever since I was little, and I just went out there and watched my brothers play, and it was a lot of fun,” Thompson said.

Thompson, who is featured on the cover of the May issue of Golf Digest magazine, solidified her status as one of the premier golfers in the world on April 6, 2014 when she shot a bogey-free 68 in the final round to win the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship for her first major championship.

“It was incredible,” Thompson said of winning the tournament. “That was my No. 1 goal, to win a major in 2014, and to accomplish that was a dream come true.”

The 10th-ranked female golfer in the world has ambitions far beyond winning just one major championship, though.

“My overall goal is, hopefully, in the future to be in the hall of fame,” Thompson said. “That’s my number one goal to shoot for.”

Although Thompson is exceptional on the golf course, she cherishes the moments when she gets to be an ordinary person off of the course.

“I love when I do get to come home, just hanging out with my family and friends,” Thompson said. “I go to the beach, bowling, movies. I’m not very exciting. I’m very laid back.”

Still, Thompson isn’t taking her auspicious standing in life for granted.

“I mean, I’m traveling the world and playing golf,” Thompson said. “Not a lot of people can say that.”

No, they can’t. Especially not people who are only months removed from being a teenager.