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Lexi Thompson Women's PGA Championship

Lexi Thompson Fires First Major Sub-70 In Two Years To Lead Women’s PGA

Announcing her retirement, bringing in a new caddie, and now leading a major. It has been a busy few weeks for Lexi…

 

727 days. That is how long it had been since Lexi Thompson had carded a sub-70 round in a major championship, and she finally did so again at the KMPG Women’s PGA Championship.

The American, who announced her retirement shortly before the US Women’s Open, had struggled in the sport’s biggest events in recent times.

Six missed cuts in her last seven since a T2 finish at this very event two years ago. Her best finish since was a T47, which also came at the Women’s PGA Championship 12 months ago.

The last few weeks have been different, though. She was runner-up at the Meijer LPGA Classic on the LPGA Tour last week, and now leads at Sahalee Country Club in Washington.

A lot has changed in a short space of time, but the 29-year-old doesn’t believe that the improvements in her game in recent weeks have had anything to do with her retirement.

“I kind of clicked onto something with my golf swing just trying to simplify things out there and visualize my shots and be more comfortable,” Thompson explained.

“I don’t think that has to do with announcing what I did. It’s just a matter of being comfortable out there, playing free-swing Lexi I guess. Just enjoying being out there every step of the way.”

Thompson started the day brilliantly, making birdie at each of her opening three holes. Three more birdies, along with a pair of bogeys on the back nine, would see her shoot a 4-under-par round of 68 at Sahalee to lead the field.

Would she still walk away from the sport if she was to win her second major (and her first since the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship) this week? It’s a question that she was asked following her opening round in Sammamish on Thursday.

“I’m just taking it one day at a time. I made my announcement. I’m very content with it,” Thompson said.

“Golf is a crazy game, so I’m not going to look too far ahead. Just taking it one day at a time and see where it takes me.”

Lexi Thompson caddie Women's PGA Championship

New caddie, new Lexi Thompson at the Women’s PGA?

Following her disappointment of missing the cut at the US Women’s Open, Thompson made the change to a new caddie, and it has certainly worked.

Mark Wallington is the new looper for the 29-year-old, and the Englishman seems to have helped Thompson relax and enjoy her game a little more in recent weeks.

“I’m very grateful. Mark has helped me out dramatically,” she said.

“He’s so positive out there. Even when I make a bogey or bad shot he’s like, all right, let’s just gets get it back in position and you’ve got this. I think that’s what I need.

“I can get a little bit too hard on myself sometimes and I need that person by my side to pick me up when I’m down. He’s great and we have a good time out there and he keeps me smiling, so I’m enjoying him.”

Who is Thompson’s new bag man, though? Well, he has been on the bag for some of the game’s best over the years.

He has caddied for the likes of Charley Hull, Emily Kristine Pedersen and Sophie Gustafson as they played for Europe at the Solheim Cup.

Wallington has also been on the bag of New Zealander Lydia Ko, before taking up the reigns as Thompson’s caddie ahead of the Meijer LPGA Classic just last week.

“I’ve known him for a very long time and we’ve always had a very great friendship. We get along so well; just never have worked together,” Lexi explained.

“I’ve always considered him one of my great friends out here that I go to, and vice versa. We always have a good laugh with each other and really look for each other in a friendship when needed.”

Now have your say

What did you make of her opening round on Thursday? Could Lexi Thompson do the unthinkable and win the Women’s PGA Championship? If she does, will she think about her retirement? Let us know your thoughts with a post on X, formerly Twitter!

Matt Coles

Matt Coles

Mention a European country, and Matt will tell you which resorts make the National Club Golfer Top 100s: European Resorts list. He might even throw in who designed the golf course and how many rooms the hotel has got at each one…

Matt got into the game of golf from a young age, following his old man to the local golf club. He fell for the sport, and now can’t seem to go a day without thinking about how to improve his game (Thanks Dad!). Matt has been a member of Howley Hall GC in Leeds since 2020, and is just about managing to maintain a single-figure handicap. He likes to remind people that he once broke 75, but won’t tell people that it was on a shortened course during the winter.

He moved to Leeds after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class Honours degree in Sports Journalism. Matt joined NCG after almost five years travelling the world with the Professional Squash Association, working on events in all four corners of the globe.

Matt currently plays a Cobra King LTDx driver and RadSpeed 3-wood. TaylorMade monopolise the rest of his bag, with a SIM UDI, M5 irons and both Milled Grind and HI-TOE wedges, along with a Monza Redline putter. He uses a Vice Pro Plus golf ball, because he’s a bit different…

Away from golf, Matt is a Manchester United fan, and a keen runner, having ran the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon (his first and possibly last), in May 2023.

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