Hell yeah, Lexi Thompson. You go. Some old heads who frown upon an era of rampant participation trophies, moral victories and coddling might’ve been yelling at their TVs over the past two days. Perhaps proclaiming that no woman has any business playing on the PGA Tour.
Well guess what? Lexi Thompson just proved otherwise.
No, she isn’t going to make the cut at the Shriners Children’s Open. Neither are many other men who teed it up in Las Vegas this week. In fact, until her final five holes during Friday’s second round, it very much appeared as if Thompson would make it to the weekend.
With the understanding that there may be a little bit of altitude aiding her distance, Thompson managed to average over 300 yards off the tee. Plenty long enough to hang with the boys.
Ball-striking is typically Thompson’s strong suit, yet she didn’t even have her A-game in that department for most of the first round. It was her putting that often saved her from a higher score. Had she been as on point as she often is from tee to green, I have little doubt Thompson could’ve gotten inside the cut line.
I’m sure nerves played a part. The pressure Thompson was under to have a solid showing had to be immense. To say she regained her form swing-wise in the second round would be a massive understatement.
Rounds in 60s by women all-time on the PGA Tour:
2004 Michelle Wie West, Sony Open, 68 (-2) 2006 Michelle Wie West, Sony Open, 68 (-2) 2023 Lexi Thompson, Shriners, 69 (-2)
Thompson hit 12/14 fairways, 14/18 greens and gained more than a full stroke on the field putting.
Unfortunately, things went a little sideways when Thompson hit her tee shot on the par-3 fifth (her 14th hole of Round 2) to parts unknown. Thompson did quite well to get that up-and-in from the drop zone and card a bogey.
There was still hope from there if she could par in and make birdie at the par-5 ninth. Another dropped shot at the eighth and a missed six-footer for birdie on No. 9 dashed her hopes of making the cut.
How can you not root for this woman?
Lexi Thompson says she's "very proud."
"Hearing the cheers and seeing all the little kids, that's what I play for. On the last hole a little kid screamed out, go Lexi, you're great, and that just makes my day. No matter what, I could shoot 80, and they'd be like, you did great." pic.twitter.com/WnzhwrCYmB
Whatever disappointment there is not seeing Thompson tee it up for 36 more holes is outweighed by the potential bigger-picture implications.
There’s plenty of proof the ladies can compete with men at the highest level. Why should we beat back this notion? OK sure, major championships are a different story, but early-schedule or non-designated PGA Tour stops such as this one? Bring on the women. Sponsor exemptions. Let’s go!
Although Thompson is deservedly getting attention for her showing here, to me, this fuels the fire sparked by Linn Grant at the 2022 Scandinavian Mixed tournament.
Grant became the first woman ever to win on the European Tour during the co-sanctioned event in which men and women participated. She lapped the field with a nine-stroke triumph, with Henrik Stenson and Marc Warren as her closest competition.
At only 24 years old, Grant has five Ladies European Tour wins, and picked up her first LPGA victory at the Dana Open in July.
So I say, open the floodgates. Let Lexi Thompson’s example be a beacon to other world-class women’s golfers to attempt to gain entry on the PGA Tour. Thompson is great in her own right, yet she’s also 25th in the world rankings. Grant is 15th. There are other stars waiting in the wings to grow the game in a way few could’ve imagined.
Make it happen, Jay Monahan. Get back into folks’ good graces after caving to that merger.
Check out more highlights from Thompson’s second round below.