Thompson Receives Exemption
January 30, 2009
By David Shefter, USGA
Far Hills, N.J. - Alexis Thompson won't celebrate her 14th
birthday for another 12 days, but that didn't stop the
reigning U.S. Girls' Junior champion from receiving an
The Coral Springs, Fla., resident received one of the
coveted amateur exemptions into the 2009 Kraft Nabisco
reported Friday. The LPGA Tour's first major of the season
will be played April 2-5 at Mission Hills Country Club in
Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Traditionally, the Kraft Nabisco has always invited about a
half-dozen top amateurs. The reigning U.S. Women's Amateur
champion generally gets an exemption. This year that would
go to Duke University senior Amanda Blumenherst of
Scottsdale, Ariz., who has previously played and made the
cut in the event.
None of the amateur exemptions have officially been
Thompson has been on a tear in January, winning the South
Atlantic Ladies Amateur by 13 strokes and then last weekend
claiming the Ione D. Jones/Doherty Women's Championship
with a 5-and-4 win over Scotland's Kelsey MacDonald to
become the youngest winner of that competition. Two-time
U.S. Women's Amateur champion and current LPGA Tour player
Vicki Goetze had owned that record at 16 years, 3 months
In 2007, Thompson became the youngest to ever qualify for
the U.S. Women's Open when she did so at 12 years, 4
months. Later that summer, she became the youngest
quarterfinalist in U.S. Women's Amateur history. Last year,
she qualified again for the Women's Open, but like in 2007,
failed to make the 36-hole cut. The Kraft Nabisco will be
her third appearance in a LPGA Tour major.
"That's kind of a fast way to jump in the water," said
Scott Thompson, Alexis' father, in the
. "But that's OK. It's all good.
"We've talked about it a lot - maybe too much because you
can get your hopes up too far. It's nice that she got
Last summer, Thompson became the second-youngest champion
in U.S. Girls' Junior history with a 5-and-4 win over
fellow 13-year-old Karen Chung at Hartford Golf Club in
West Hartford, Conn. She also competed in the U.S. Women's
Amateur at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club, but lost in the
The Kraft Nabisco has had a history of young players in its
fields. Michelle Wie, the 2003 U.S. Women's Amateur Public
Links champion and a 2004 USA Curtis Cupper, participated
in the 2004 event at 13 and tied for ninth. A year later
she finished solo fourth.
Aree Song Wongluekiet, the youngest U.S. Girls' Junior
champion (13 years, 3 months in 1999), tied for 10th in
2000 at 13. And Morgan Pressel made her debut at the Kraft
Nabisco at 17, a couple of months before she tied for
second at the U.S. Women's Open and later won the U.S.
Women's Amateur. Two years later, Pressel became the
youngest major-championship winner when she won the 2007
Kraft Nabisco at 18.
David Shefter is a USGA Digital Media staff writer.
E-mail him with questions or comments at