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16-year-old notches historic LPGA win

September 19, 2011

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— Lexi Thompson was poised to become the youngest player to win an LPGA Tour event at a fresh-faced 16, sitting five strokes ahead of the field and one round from history.

So what was the dinner table topic the night before?

“Boys. Boys definitely came up,” she said. Hey, she’s an LPGA winner. But she’s still 16.

The Floridian closed with a 2-under 70 Sunday to win the Navistar LPGA Classic, beating Tiffany Joh by five strokes to finish at 17-under 271.

Thompson shattered the age record for winning a multiple-round tournament held by Paula Creamer, who won in 2005 at 18. Marlene Hagge was 18 years and 14 days old when she won the single-round Sarasota Open in 1952.

The victory brought a piece of history and $195,000.

“This has been my dream like my whole life,” Thompson said. “It’s the best feeling ever.”

Thompson, who turned 16 in February, led by five strokes entering the final round and built that to seven through 10 holes at the Robert Trent Jones Trail’s Capitol Hill complex. Then came the teen’s only big lapse on the pressure-packed day, bogeys on the next two holes that allowed Joh to surge within three strokes.

Thompson erased any concerns of a collapse with birdies on Nos. 16 and 17, and then the celebration and the kind words began.

“Paula Creamer came up to me and said, ‘If anybody was going to change the record, it should have been you,’” Thompson said. “That meant a lot.”

Cool under pressure most of the day, Thompson and her father, also her caddie, couldn’t contain broad smiles as they approached the 18th green with the win, and a spot in LPGA history.

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