Lexi Thompson avenged her missed two-foot putt for the win last year at the CME Group Tour Championship by giving herself a four-shot cushion as she lined up a five footer for birdie on the 72nd hole. Although Thompson missed the birdie putt, she claimed her first victory of the season, ending a tumultuous campaign on a high note.
“After this year, it’s been a little up and down. To end it like this, it’s a little special,” Thompson said. “I’ve been working on myself a lot with just going to therapists or just trying to figure myself out off the golf course because I’m not just the golfer Lexi. That’s what I want people to know, and not expect so much out of me.”
Thompson, who took an unexpected mid-year break from the game to deal with personal struggles, returned to the winner’s circle thanks to rounds of 65-67-68-70 with her brother, Curtis, on the bag.
Thompson made headlines earlier in the week when news broke that she and her regular caddie, Kevin McAlpine, had split. Having her brother on the bag was a godsend for Thompson, who credited her brother with keeping her loose on the course in pivotal moments.
“He kind of saved me,” Thompson said. “He’s such a goofball. He’s a one-of-a-kind personality, and I just love him so much, and just how much he helped me out this week. I needed that.”
Playing at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida, some two hours from her childhood home, Thompson had her parents, grandmother and uncle in the gallery as she navigated her way to her 10th LPGA Tour title.
More importantly, however, is the perspective Thompson has gained this year following the ups and downs of the years previous.
“It all kind of hit me this year, and just kind of got me really down,” Thompson said. “I needed that time off to be with my family, to figure out things that made me happy off the golf course
Golf is my life. It’s who I am, but it’s just what I do. I’m coming to realize that. … There is so much to life other than that, my family and my friends and just loving every bit of that, and just being grateful for what I have.”