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Lexi Thompson to be seventh woman to compete against men at PGA Tour event

By Jack Bantock, CNN

(CNN) — Lexi Thompson will make history when she tees off at the Shriners Children’s Open next week, becoming just the seventh woman ever to compete in a PGA Tour event.

An 11-time winner on the LPGA Tour, the American received an unrestricted sponsor exemption to make the 132-player field competing for a $8.4 million prize purse at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas from October 12.

The appearance sees the 28-year-old joins Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sörenstam, Suzey Whaley, Michelle Wie West and Brittany Lincicome as the only women to ever compete at a PGA Tour event.

Zaharias, an Olympic gold medal-winning track and field athlete turned 10-time LPGA Tour major winner, became the first with an appearance at the 1935 Cascades Open and remains the only woman to make a cut at a PGA Tour event having finished 33rd at the Phoenix Open and 42nd at the Tucson Open in 1945.

And Thompson, as the first since compatriot Lincicome competed at the 2018 Barbasol Championship in Kentucky, is drawing motivation from the six that came before her.

“I was inspired when they did it,” Thompson told the PGA Tour.

“Going after what you want, leaving a bigger message out there that if you have a goal in mind – whether it’s golf, anything in life – if you put your mind to it and have a positive attitude and work towards what you want, anything is possible.”

Thompson was a member of the US Solheim Cup team that agonizingly missed out on victory in Spain last month, as Europe completed a dramatic fightback to level scores at 14-14 and retain the trophy.

The world No. 25 impressed at the LPGA Tour’s Arkansas Championship, securing a tied-8th finish on Sunday, but has not won on the circuit since victory at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in June 2019.

She has one major title to her name, having won the Kraft Nabisco Championship (now the Chevron Championship) in 2014.

“The Shriners Children’s supports all children, regardless of gender, with disabilities and as we know disability does not discriminate,” Thompson said in an Instagram post Wednesday.

“I’m hopeful my ability to play with the men next week at The Shriners Children Open sends a great message to the young women that you can chase your dreams regardless of how difficult they may seem.

“I cannot wait to come to the city of Las Vegas and I’m so grateful to the Shriners for this opportunity to spend the week alongside these inspirational children!”

Last year’s tournament was won by South Korean Kim “Tom” Joo-hyung, the then-20-year-old becoming the first golfer to win twice on the PGA Tour before turning 21 with a three-shot victory – all without carding a single bogey.

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