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Thompson becomes youngest European Tour winner

Wie finishes tied for 12th place at Dubai

December 18, 2011
By MICHAEL CASEY , The Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - American teenager Lexi Thompson has made history as the youngest winner on both the LPGA and Ladies European Tours.

The 16-year-old Thompson shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to win the Dubai Ladies Masters, becoming the youngest professional winner on that side of the Atlantic.

Thompson pulled away from Lee-Anne Pace to win by four strokes for her second professional victory. In September, she became the youngest winner of an LPGA tournament at the Navistar LPGA Classic in Alabama.

Article Photos

Lexi Thompson celebrates after winning the Dubai Ladies Masters on Saturday.

AP photo

"It feels amazing," Thompson said. "I'm just honored they invited me back and I'm just grateful to be here. I've been working on my game really hard and it has paid off."

Thompson chipped in for a birdie on No. 9 to take a one-shot lead over Pace and extended her lead with four birdies on the back nine for a 15-under 273 total.

Pace (69) started strong with two birdies and an eagle on her first six holes, but shaky putting on the back nine ended her chances.

The 2010 European Tour money winner, Pace hit her approach shot on No. 12 over the green for her second bogey in five holes.

"Things could have been a little different," Pace said. "I hit a bad club on 12, which cost me a shot, and that is where things changed around."

Sophie Gustafson (71) was a shot behind Pace in third place followed by four players another shot back.

Honolulu's Michelle Wie (72) came into the final round five shots behind leader Thompson. She fell out of contention with two bogeys and a double-bogey on the front nine, finishing tied for 12th.

"It was pretty frustrating. I couldn't get my putts going," Wie said. "I just needed to play better on the front nine all week. Nothing really went. Nothing went in. At least, I finished birdie, birdie. I gotta work on a lot of things for next season."

Wie offered a congratulatory tweet and predicted Thompson would be a force to reckon with in the future. The 22-year-old Wie praised the support Thompson gets not only from her father, who caddies for her, but her entire entourage.

"I think she kind of has that mentality, just grip it and rip it," said Wie, who also joined the LPGA Tour at 16 and has two wins. "She just goes out there and just kind of has fun, which is really nice to see. She's a really talented player and I'm really impressed."

 
 
 

 

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