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19-year-old becomes second youngest winner of women's major title
Teenager fires four-under 68 to in final round to beat Michelle Wie by three strokes
Thompson became youngest LPGA Tour winner in 2011
American teenager Lexi Thompson has sealed her first major victory at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California.
The 19-year-old shot a four-under-par 68 in the final round at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage to win by three shots from compatriot Michelle Wie.
Thompson had been tied with Wie on 10 under after Saturday’s third round and got off to the perfect start on Sunday with a birdie at the par-four first hole before picking up three more shots on the front nine.
Wie kept pace for a time, drawing level with a birdie at the second, but a bogey at the next hole would set the tone for a mixed round of 71 following a flawless round of 68 on Saturday.
Thompson, meanwhile, was faultless and nerveless down the final stretch scoring nine consecutive pars to cruise to victory.
“Well, it was an amazing day,” said Thompson, who picks up a winner’s check of $300,000.
“Starting off with a birdie definitely helped. But just hitting that first tee shot obviously a little nervous, but it was definitely what I’ve been practicing for, what I live for, to play under that pressure and to get a major win under my belt, especially the Kraft Nabisco. It’s such a huge honor to win this tournament,” she added.
Wie, 24, who is still seeking a first major title, was full of praise for her playing partner on Sunday.
“(Lexi) played amazing today,” Wie said. “She played probably the best I’ve ever seen her play. She hit the ball so well. She made everything. It was just hard to catch up to her all day today, but I’m really happy for her. I’m really proud of her.”
America’s Stacy Lewis finished seven shots behind in third with compatriot Cristie Kerr finishing in a tie for fourth with Korea’s Se Ri Pak.
Thompson’s victory cements her place as one of the finest young female players in the game.
In 2007, at the age of 12, Thompson became the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open and in 2011 became the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour winning the Navistar LPGA Classic aged 16 years, seven months and eight days.
The Florida native confirmed her growing reputation with two more Tour wins last year ,winning the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico.
At 19 years, one month and 27 days, Thompson becomes the second youngest winner of a women’s major after compatriot Morgan Pressel (18 years, 10 months and nine days) won the same tournament back in 2007.
The U.S. Women’s Open will take place at Pinehurst in June.
Meanwhile, the world’s best male golfers are gearing up for the first major tournament of 2014 with the opening round of the Masters getting underway at Augusta National on Thursday.