Alexis “Lexi” Thompson turned only 12 years old in 2007, but she wasn’t too young to make the golf world take notice. The Florida pre-teen made national headlines when she qualified to play in the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open.
By 2009 – by age 14 – Thompson had already made it into three consecutive U.S. Women’s Open, and had posted a Top 25 finish in another LPGA major. She turned pro in 2010 at age 15. She won on the LPGA at age 16.
Thompson was born in Florida into a family that loves golf. One older brother is a successful junior golfer. And another older brother – Nicholas, who is 12 years Alexis’ senior – is a PGA Tour member who has won on the Nationwide Tour.
Thompson, tomboyish as a youngster and tall for her age, grew up in that competitive golf environment. And that competitiveness tranferred into competition and into full bloom in 2007. That year, Lexi survived a USGA qualifier to earn a spot in the field at the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open. She was only 12 years, four months and one day old when she qualified, becoming the youngest-ever qualifier – beating a record previously held by Morgan Pressel.
Also in 2007, Thompson won the Aldila Junior Classic, an American Junior Golf Association tournament, becoming the second-youngest AJGA winner ever. And she won the Junior PGA Championship, becoming that event’s youngest-ever winner.
In 2008, Thompson played in her second U.S. Women’s Open (missing the cut, as she did in 2007), and won her only USGA championship, the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur. She is the second-youngest winner of that tournament (only Aree Song was younger).
In 2009, Thompson won the prestigious South Atlantic Ladies Amateur). She finished 21st, tied for low amateur, at the LPGA major Kraft Nabisco Championship, after receiving a special invitation to play. And she made the cut for the first time at the U.S. Women’s Open, finishing 34th.
She played on the American team in the 2010 Curtis Cup, going 4-0-1. Afterward, on June 16, 2010, she announced she was turning pro.
Not much later, Thompson finished runner-up at the 2010 Evian Masters, her best finish so far as a pro.
Late in 2010, Thompson petitioned the LPGA for extra playing opportunities. Although the LPGA denied the request, the tour did waive its 18-year-old minimum-age required to allow Thompson to enter the 2011 LPGA Q-School tournament.
In 2011, Thompson won the Navistar LPGA Classic, becoming the youngest winner in LPGA history.