Event feels like home for champ
Thompson always spends Kingsmill week with mother
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.”