‘I’ve just got to play within myself’

When Lexi Thompson got the call a few weeks ago, she didn’t hesitate.

Even though that meant moving some plans around, the decision was an easy one. Thompson is set to compete in the PGA Tour’s Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas this weekend, which will make her just the seventh woman in history to play in a PGA Tour event.

“It was such an exciting feeling,” Thompson said from TPC Summerlin on Tuesday. “I got the news two Sundays ago right after I played at [the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship], so it was kind of surreal. I was just letting that round soak in and have a good round under my belt and got that news. I’m like, right, this is all just exciting.”

Thompson has won 11 times in her career on the LPGA Tour, including one major championship. She finished fifth at The Ascendant on Sunday, which marked her second straight top-10 finish after going 3-1 at the Solheim Cup last month.

Thompson has been one of the most recognizable and most successful players on the LPGA Tour since she first played in the U.S. Women’s Open when she was just 12 years old. She turned professional at 15, and then grabbed her first career win a year later — which made her the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history at the time.

Thompson is the first woman to compete in a PGA Tour event since Brittany Lincicome did so at the Barbasol Championship in 2018. Michelle Wie West, who has since retired, played in eight PGA Tour events in her career, too.

“They all reached out and wished me the best of luck,” Thompson said of Wie West, Lincicome and others. “I’m just here to play alongside the men, play within myself. I know my game and I’ve played well the last few weeks.”

Lexi Thompson will attempt to be the first woman to make the cut on the PGA Tour since 1945

Lexi Thompson will attempt to be the first woman to make the cut on the PGA Tour since 1945. (Sam Hodde/Getty Images) (Sam Hodde via Getty Images)

Babe Didrikson Zaharias is the only woman to make the cut in a PGA tournament, doing so at the 1945 Los Angeles Open. Though Thompson has done a lot throughout her golf career already, making the cut this week would be “at the top” of her career accomplishments list. She knows, though, that her score is far from the most important thing in Las Vegas.

“Good golf is a successful week. If I can leave here inspiring others, especially the kids, the Shriners kids, that’s what it’s all about and what this tournament is,” Thompson said. “There is more than just playing golf. If I can inspire one individual, I would feel like I’m making progress. Of course, yes, I want to play good. That’s a whole ‘nother story. There is more to life than performing well. That’s what I want to do, inspire others.”

Thompson will tee off alongside Kevin Roy and Trevor Werbylo on Thursday afternoon in the first round.

“Coming into a PGA Tour event, being a woman, is a challenge,” Thompson said. “I just got to play within myself. I know my game. Don’t try to push anything, play within myself and that’s all I can do. Try my best on every single shot, 100% committed. Whatever happens, I can only control my emotions and my game.”

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