14-Year-Old Amateur to Play in LPGA's First Major of the Year

By: Dave Andrews

Not many eighth graders will ever have to take a week off from school to play in an LPGA tournament, but 14-year-old Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., is doing just that this week. She'll be competing in the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, Calif., April 2-5.

The Kraft Nabisco, the LPGA's first major of the season, invites a few of the best amateur women golfers in the country to compete in the event. The four other amateurs playing this week are all current college standouts. Thompson is still four years away from college unless, of course, she decides to turn professional after graduating from high school.

Despite her youth, Thompson, who turned 14 just a few weeks ago, is no stranger to playing against the best women golfers in the world. This will be her third time teeing it up against the likes of Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr. In 2007, Thompson became the youngest player ever to qualify for a U.S. Women's Open. She qualified for the Open again last year. She failed to make the cut either time, but just making the field at such a young age is impressive enough. Last year she won the U.S. Girls Junior Championship and has several other national-caliber amateur titles to her credit.

Thompson put her remarkable talent on display in early March when she played in the Florida Women's Open in Orlando. Competing against 120 women, most professionals on the LPGA or the Futures tours, Thompson fired a 66 on the first day of the event and a 69 on the second day. She held a one-stroke lead going into the final round at 9-under par before faltering on the final day, shooting a 75 and ending up in a tie for second. She finished the event just a stroke behind the winner, LPGA veteran Kris Tamulis, who is literally twice her age.

Thompson 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. She will likely attempt to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open again this year. She has grown several inches over the last year and is now hitting her woods and iron shots much farther than in '08. At just 14, she appears destined for stardom in golf at a very young age.

Dave Andrews is a Harvard-educated former television news reporter. He's also an avid golfer who has become a fan of the Duramed Futures Tour. His home course in Concord, N.H., is annually the site of one of the tour's events. The inspiration for Dave's 2007 novel, "Pops and Sunshine," came from meeting many of the young aspiring women golfers on that tour. Each of them has a passion, dedication and determination that he finds remarkable. His novel is a fictionalization of the dream that these young women share. To order Dave's book, visit http://popsandsunshine.com.