Event feels like home for champ

Thomp­son al­ways spends Kingsmill week with mother

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - BASEBALL - BY WAYNE EPPS JR. wepps@timesdis­patch.com (804) 649-6442 @wayneepp­sjr

WIL­LIAMS­BURG — For Lexi Thomp­son, the Kingsmill Championship is more than just an­other stop on the LPGA Tour. Each year, the event dou­bles as a mother-daugh­ter week for her and her mother, Judy. Thomp­son, who is No. 3 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rank­ings, doesn’t bring other fam­ily mem­bers with her to the event. It’s just mother and daugh­ter.

“She just ab­so­lutely loves this tour­na­ment,” Thomp­son said af­ter her pro-am round on Wed­nes­day. “She’s come here for years now. And we rent a condo, five, 10 min­utes away, and she cooks for me ev­ery night.”

The ar­range­ment seems to be a great one for Thomp­son. The 23-yearold Coral Gables, Fla., na­tive has fin­ished in the top 10 in each of her past four starts at Kingsmill, and won the event last year with a tour­na­ment-record score of 20-un­der 264.

This year, she’ll try to be­come the event’s first backto-back win­ner.

“It’s an event that we re­ally look for­ward to,” Thomp­son said.

Thomp­son’s menu this week, cour­tesy of her mother, will fea­ture a bit of ev­ery­thing. Judy made home­made meat­balls, and they usu­ally have pasta one night, too.

“She’s a great cook, any­thing that she cooks,” Thomp­son said.

Hav­ing the sup­port of her mother means a lot to Thomp­son. Per­haps even more so this year. Not long af­ter last year’s tour­na­ment, she found out that her mother had uter­ine can­cer.

“She was go­ing through it here, but she didn’t tell me,” Thomp­son said. “So I found out a lit­tle bit af­ter. And it was rough. She’s a breast can­cer sur­vivor as well.”

This year, Judy ar­rived at Kingsmill cleared of the can­cer. Thomp­son said in an in­ter­view Tues­day that her mother just got her CT scan a few weeks ago.

“It’s a huge re­lief,” Thomp­son said. “She’s my best friend, so just to have her here again this year, sup­port­ing me and al­ways there for me to say that she loves me, that’s all I need.”

This year’s tour­na­ment, played on Kingsmill’s River Course, is ex­pected to be a wet one. Rain is in the fore­cast each day. It also rained Wed­nes­day.

Danielle Kang, who placed fourth in last year’s Kingsmill Championship, said the course drains well.

“So I think the golf course will hold up per­fectly fine,” she said.

But rain can bring with it a change in ap­proach.

Natalie Gul­bis said this week will re­quire pa­tience be­cause of po­ten­tial de­lays.

“The golf course is go­ing to play quite a bit longer,” she said. “Some of the strat­egy with pay­ing at­ten­tion to where greens are go­ing to re­lease, and where maybe you’re go­ing to have tar­gets off the tee. All that changes be­cause you’re not go­ing to have the re­lease and the roll-out.

“The course does drain well, but based on how much rain, it can def­i­nitely change sig­nif­i­cantly.”

Brooke Hen­der­son, who tied for 14th here last year, said the rain will make the greens hold a bit bet­ter and maybe play a bit slower.

“Which might make a lot more birdies a lot more pos­si­ble,” she said.

For Thomp­son, a vic­tory would be her first of the sea­son and the 10th of her ca­reer.

With her mother back­ing her, she’ll be hop­ing for less rain and more shine in her ti­tle de­fense.

“I’ve been play­ing well,” she said. “It’s just a mat­ter of time be­fore ev­ery­thing falls to­gether for me.”


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