After making the cut in only her second pro appearance, Alexis Thompson finished an impressive tied-for-10th at the Women's U.S. Open in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.
A third-round 70 propelled the 15-year-old, who turned professional just weeks ago, up the leaderboard into sixth place on Saturday, and a solid 73 on Sunday kept her in the top 10, taking home a cool $72,131 – not a bad four days’ work.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the teenager, who admitted that there are some elements of her game that need attention, though her hitting isn’t one of them.
“She’s the best 15-year-old I’ve ever seen,” commented fellow pro Suzann Pettersen from Norway. “God, she hits it a long way.”
While agreeing with Pettersen on that point, Thompson expressed frustration with her short game.
“You know, my ball-striking was really good today,” she said after her fourth and final round. “My putting didn't really wear off my ball-striking. It was just… I have no idea. I've never really putted that bad. When I get home, I'm going to putt 24/7. I'm figuring it out.”
Thompson clearly enjoyed the U.S. Open atmosphere, where she is already attracting much attention as a poster-girl for the women’s pro scene. She had a great time mixing it up with fellow golfers, including established talents like Paula Creamer, who won the event.
"If I just keep any ball-striking the way it was today and yesterday, I think I'll be good to go." –Alexis Thompson
“I love this tournament,” Thompson stated. “So many people come out to watch it, so many fans… It's a great field, obviously – the best in the world. It's a great crowd and a great tournament to be at.”
And was she nervous making her first pro start in a Major in front of such big crowds?
“Not really… I mean, it was just first-hole nerves,” she concedes. “I don't know what I'm doing on the first hole. Once I got through that, it was fine, except for my last hole. On the last hole, that little slide over three-footer, I was shaking on that one. It was a great experience, so I wasn't that nervous.”
Apart from happy memories and a pretty healthy bank balance, Thompson has taken a considerable amount of food for thought from this event, and has plenty to focus on to up her game further.
“Seeing all the other players I played with, their putt is just so good. They're always around the hole – great speed. That's something I have to work on. If I just keep any ball-striking the way it was today and yesterday, I think I'll be good to go.”