Lexi Thompson Impresses in Opening Round of PGA Tour Debut

Lexi Thompson PGA Tour
Lexi Thompson plays her shot from the 4th tee during the first round of the Shriners Children's Open at TPC Summerlin on Oct 12, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Michael Owens via Getty Images)

In the opening round of her PGA Tour debut, 11-time LPGA Tour winner Lexi Thompson was +1 through 16 holes to sit T76 at the Shrines Children’s Open, after play was suspended due to darkness.

The largest crowds of the day gathered on the first tee at TPC Summerlin to watch Thompson tee off in the early afternoon, becoming just the seventh women to make a start on the PGA Tour. First-tee jitters got to the American on her opening hole, as she hit her tee-shot into the right-side fairway bunker, but she recovered with a phenomenal shot from the sand that landed just 8 feet from the hole. Still dealing with nerves, she missed the short putt but walked away with par on the first.

By the No. 2 hole, the nerves faded as Thompson striped it down the middle of the fairway, stuck her approach shot to 25-feet, and made her first ever birdie on the PGA Tour with a solid putting stroke.

“Yeah, it was a very special feeling,” Thompson said of her first birdie. “I hit a great shot into 1 and probably hit one of my worst putts and then hit an amazing putt on No. 2, so it was nice to kind of have a good stroke there and make birdie on a more difficult hole.”

On No. 3, Thompson hit another long drive straight down the middle, but struggled on the approach. Her second shot landed with a heavy bounce on the front edge of the green and rolled off the back edge. She opted to putt uphill onto the green, but the ball gained speed on the downhill and rolled nearly 13 feet past the hole. Her par putt missed just left, giving Thompson her first bogey of the day and moving her back to even.

She stayed even through Nos. 4, 5 and 6, making a good up-and-down for par on 6 after another approach shot rolled off the back of the green, but she ran into trouble on the par-4 7th.

Thompson was immediately frustrated by her drive on 7, which went left into the tree line and into a sprinkler head. Taking a free drop that moved her slightly out of the trees, Thompson landed the green, but the ball rolled off again, this time off the front, right side. Hitting a steep uphill putt, Thompson got the ball to the top of the hump but it lost momentum at the peak. Her downhill par putt went just left of the hole and 5 feet past, and the major champion was unable to sink her next putt for bogey. She took a double on the last par-4 on the front and followed that with another bogey on the par-3 No. 8, where her tee shot went short into the greenside rough and her second shot left her a 24-foot putt for par. Eager to shift the momentum before making the turn, Thomspon smashed her tee shot down the fairway on No. 9, her first par-5 of the day.

“Yeah, well, I knew 9 I could get a birdie as long as I hit that fairway, I knew I could get 3-wood up close to the front of the green and make birdie there,” Thompson said of her mindset after holes 7 and 8.

Lexi Thompson PGA Tour
Lexi Thompson reacts on the 6th green during the first round of the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin on Oct 12, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Michael Owens via Getty Images)

With a 3-wood in hand, Thompson got all of her second shot and reached in two, joining her playing partners Kevin Roy and Trevor Werbylo on the green. The six-time Solheim Cup participant putted first for eagle, and it looked right on line before the putt broke left at the hole, leaving her a tap-in for birdie. She made the turn at +2 and held at that number until the next par-5, No. 13.

“Yeah, I was able to get to the front edges of (the par-5s), which was nice,” said Thompson on how she capitalized on the par-5s on Thursday. “A little bit of a down right-to-left wind, so was able to just hit driver as far as I can, get some roll-out, and be able to hit my 3-wood up to the front edge.”

Her drive on 13 was one of the best of the day, carrying 310 yards and landing in the fairway. With 279 yards to the hole, Thompson smashed another great approach shot, which carried the bunker in front of the green but landed just off the front of the putting surface. Nearly 84 feet from the hole, Thompson again putted first for eagle and left it within 10 feet from the flag. She sank the easy birdie to gain a stroke back, moving to +1.

On 14, Thompson missed a birdie putt high and then made a routine par on 15. Still one over heading onto the last par-5, the 28-year-old missed the fairway and punched out from under a tree. Her approach shot put her on the green in three and within 9 feet. It looked like another birdie for Thomspon, but her putt broke just right at the hole. As the sun crept down, Thompson was able to tee off on the par-3 17th after the horn blew, but her tee-shot landed in the front right bunker. From the sand, she put the ball on the green with a 20 foot putt for par, which she opted to mark. She will start her day on Friday with that putt to finish 17 and one more hole to play.

“I mean, it’s not like I hit a great shot after (Kevin Roy), so yeah, it’s definitely not the shot you want to wake up super early in the cold and hit that tee ball,” said Thompson when asked if she was happy to hit her tee shot on 17 Thursday night. “But yeah. I’ll see if I can make that putt tomorrow.”

Thompson will resume her first round at 7:45 a.m. PT on Friday. She will then tee-it-up for her second round at 8:29 a.m. Currently, she’s one shot off the cutline of even-par.


“Yeah, the fans were amazing. So many people around that first tee and then following us those next few holes. It was just great, especially to see those little kids out there. The fans make the game, and that’s why we continue to play and just hopefully grow it.” – Thompson on the gallery

“I had a little bit of nerves, but not too much. Kind of similar to Solheim, similar nerves, but that’s kind of what you play for.” – Thompson said of nerves

“Yeah, it’s been great so far this whole week. Everybody has been so welcoming and just a huge honor just to be able to tee it up here. There’s more to it than just golf. Shriners does amazing things for these kids, so I’m happy to be out here and supporting them in any way I can. Yeah, I played decent. I had one bad hole and a few iffy shots. But it’s golf; it was kind of expected.” – Thompson on the experience

Post produced using LPGA press release.



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