14-Year-Old Amateur Loses Florida Women's Open by a Stroke

By: Dave Andrews

Alexis Thompson had the Florida Women's Open within her grasp going into Wednesday's final round. But the 14-year-old amateur star closed with a 75 on the final day and finished the event in a tie for second place, one shot out of the lead. She lost the tournament to a player twice her age.

LPGA Tour veteran Kris Tamulis captured this year's title, shooting a 73 in to finish at 7-under par. The 28-year-old Tamulis, from Naples, Fla., earned $4,000 with the victory. She shot 70-66-73 over the three days.

Thompson, an eighth grader from Coral Springs, Fla., held a one-stroke lead on the rest of the field after Tuesday's second round. She shot 66 and 69 over the first two days. Her 9-under-par performance over 36 holes had the tournament buzzing. However, her 75 on Wednesday brought her back to the field.

Thompson was by far the youngest competitor in the 120-player field. More than a dozen LPGA players competed in the event along with scores of professionals from the Duramed Futures Tour. The LPGA players were using the event as a tune-up for next week's stop in Mexico. The Futures Tour players begin their six-month season next week in Winter Haven, Fla.

Despite the loss, Thompson appears to have a remarkable career ahead of her. She's already made some national headlines. In 2007 at the age of 12, Thompson became the youngest person to ever qualify for the U.S. Women's Open. She also qualified for the Open last year at age 13. She turned 14 just last month. She has several victories in junior golf competition. She comes from a golfing family. Her 26-year-old brother, Nicholas, is a fourth year pro on the PGA Tour. Her other brother is also a standout in junior golf.

Thompson will very likely attempt to qualify again this year for the U.S. Women's Open. A career in college golf is still four years away. She would have to wait another three years if her plans include qualifying for the LPGA Tour and turning professional. In any event, this remarkably gifted young player will probably be making many more headlines as an amateur in the months and years to come.