How does Lexi Thompson’s impressive PGA Tour debut compare to her peers?
Lexi Thompson took the golf world by storm this week in Las Vegas.
After receiving a sponsor’s exemption into the field at the Shriners Children’s Open, the 11-time LPGA Tour winner put on a show befitting of Sin City. In the process of becoming just the seventh woman to ever tee it up on the PGA Tour, Thompson also made another run at history as she teetered on the cut line all afternoon in Round 2.
Buoyed by five second-round birdies, the 28-year-old sent a jolt into the otherwise sleepy fall golf season, generating buzz typically reserved for major championship weeks. And although her bid to become just the second woman to ever make a Tour cut came up just short, her week at TPC Summerlin was one to remember.
“[I’m] very proud,” Thompson said. “Seeing the people out there and hearing the cheers and seeing all the little kids, that’s what I play for.”
Thompson finished the week even par after rounds of 73 and 69, which leaves her just outside the cut line. How does her performance compare to the other six women who have teed it up with the men? Check it out below.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias
Zaharias was — and remains — one of the greatest female athletes of all time, and her performance amongst the men only solidifies that notion. In 1935, she became the first woman to ever tee it up with the men as she played the Cascades Open. She missed the cut in her debut, but over the next 11 years she made six more starts in men’s events. Zaharias made the cut at the 1945 Los Angeles Open as she became the first (and still only) woman to ever make a cut in a men’s event.
Spork was one of the founding members of the LPGA Tour and later became a legendary figure in the instruction space. She competed regularly on the LPGA circuit in her early years and made one start with the men at the 1952 Northern California-Reno Open. She shot 77-80-77-80 and finished 105th.
Over half a century after Spork competed with the men, Sorenstam made her PGA Tour debut in 2003 after receiving a sponsor’s exemption into the Colonial in Fort Worth. Her inclusion in the field was met with plenty of resistance (Vijay Singh was particularly vocal), but the 10-time major winner proved she belonged as she fired rounds of 71 and 74. It would be her only appearance on the PGA Tour.
Just a few week following Sorenstam’s start in Texas, Whaley made a splash of her own as she teed it up in the Greater Hartford Open. Whaley — who went on to become the first female president of the PGA of America — earned her spot in the field by winning the Connecticut Section PGA Championship the previous year. She posted rounds of 75 and 78 to miss the cut.
Michelle Wie West
The following year, teenaged Michelle Wie West burst onto the scene as she made her PGA Tour debut at the Sony Open. At just 14, she became the youngest woman to ever make a Tour start. Her second-round 68 marked the first time a woman had ever broken 70 in a Tour event, although she fell one shot short of making the cut. Over the next four years, Wie West would make seven more starts with the men, breaking 70 yet again at the 2006 Sony Open.
Lincicome, a two-time major winner, had been known to play against the men in mini-tour events to tune up her game for the upcoming season, but in 2018, she took it to the next level as she teed it up at the Barbasol Championship. She posted a disappointing 78 in Round 1, but bounced back the next day with a 71.