Lexi Thompson to make 2011 LPGA debut at Avnet LPGA Classic

Posted in What's News by on April 27th, 2011

Alexis Thompson will make her first start of the 2011 golf season at this week’s Avnet LPGA Classic in Mobile, Ala. Playing on a sponsor’s exemption, the long-hitting 16-year-old will tee it up with Kraft Nabisco Champ Stacy Lewis, top-ranked Yani Tseng, Michelle Wie, and a star-studded field of 144 golfers that will include nine of the top 10 players in the world.

Thompson won a slew of fans with her star turn in last year’s Curtis Cup matches at Massachusetts’ Essex County Club. New England will be otherwise well-represented as well in the $1.3 million event, with Anna Grzebien (Narragansett, R.I.), Libby Smith (Essex, Vt.), Jaclyn Sweeney (Andover, Mass.), and Alison Walshe (Westford, Mass.) all on deck.

Three weeks after Lewis won her first major at Dinah Shore’s old stomping grounds, Se Ri Pak will try to repeat at Magnolia Groves Crossing Course, part of the famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Seeking revenge for coming up short in last year’s three-hole playoff will be Brittany Lincicome and Suzann Petterson.

Tseng, however, may have something to say about the outcome. The 22-year-old from Taiwan was anxious to get back on the course after the long layoff. “On the tour I miss all the friends, and I can’t wait to come back here to play the tournament again,” she said to reporters Wednesday. “I think the fans miss us out here, too.”

The 72-hole contest will begin Thursday at 6:50 a.m. Some of the marquee groupings include:

  • Tee #1, 8:07 a.m. — Juli Inkster, Laura Davies, Amanda Blumenherst
  • Tee #1, 8:18 a.m. — Pak, Lincicome, Natalie Gulbis
  • Tee #1, 8:29 a.m. — Angela Stanford, Paula Creamer, Ai Miyazato
  • Tee #1, 8:40 a.m. — Wie, Morgan Pressel, Hee Kyung Seo
  • Tee #10, 11:50 a.m. — Lewis, Sandra Gal, Azahara Munoz
  • Tee #10, 12:01 p.m. — Cristie Kerr, Christina Kim, Petterson
  • Tee #10, 12:12 p.m. — Tseng, Karrie Webb, Beatriz Recari

On the tube. Golf Channel will broadcast the event live all four days:

  • Thursday and Friday — 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (EDT)
  • Saturday and Sunday — 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

(Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. Check her out on the Waggle Room, Boston Golf Examiner, National Golf Examiner, and GottaGoGolf websites. You may also follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminer.)

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