Lexi Thompson won for the 11th time in her LPGA career on Sunday, taking the ShopRite LPGA Classic to mark the seventh-consecutive season in which she has won on the LPGA Tour.
Thompson had battled newly crowned US Women's Open champion Jeongeun Lee6 all day, and it was touch and go whether Six would best Thompson for a second Sunday in a row. However, on the final hole, the advantage finally swung just enough in Thompson's direction to secure her 11th LPGA win.
Facing the par-5 18th hole, Thompson was thinking eagle on the reachable hole. She chose to hit 3-wood, hoping to keep the ball lower and under the wind. However, her tee shot didn't land in the fairway. Playing from the rough, Thompson had to account for the grass and the steady two-club wind, an equation she'd come to learn through experience on this tricky, classically-designed course.
"I had 190 to the front and probably, I guess, 200 to the pin, and I had a little jumper lie out of the rough," Thompson said after the win. "I've gotten jumpers every time I've been in the rough, so I played for it, and everything bounces out so much in front of that green, so I played it to land 30 (yards) short and then with the wind taking 20 more off that, so I hit pitching wedge from 190 and just trusted it, I guess."
Thompson made the 25-foot eagle putt on the closing hole at the Seaview Resort and Golf Club's Bay Course, forcing Lee to match to force a playoff.
"I got chills; like my hair on my arms was like sticking up once I made that putt," Thompson said.
After a four-putt on the first hole in Saturday's second round of the lone 54-hole event left on the LPGA schedule, Thompson wasn't deterred from the claw putting stroke she's recently started using.
"I knew I was rolling it well as long as I committed to my lines and really just focused on my speed," she said. "I've put so much work into my putting and then changing to the claw, it's been a lot different. But I'm feeling very comfortable with it."
Some 15 minutes later when Lee's eagle bid just missed, Thompson knew she had won at the same place where she made her pro debut in 2010 with a lot of flair, including arriving in a Red Bull-branded stock car. A lot has changed since then, but Thompson winning has been a regular part of her professional life. Marking a seventh season in a row with an LPGA win, Thompson has the longest streak going since Cristie Kerr notched wins in seven consecutive seasons.
Having been through personal and family travails in recent years, Thompson believes she finds herself a more positive player.
"If you still go through life with a positive attitude, you can get through anything," she said. "That has helped me out so much, and it has made me proud, just the way I've played with what I've been through and just the determination and just the hard working that I've put into it, just to see it pay off. It means so much."