Lexi Thompson got her week going by jumping out of an airplane. She ended it by winning her first LPGA title since a rules controversy cost her the first major of the year.
Thompson won the LPGA Tour’s Kingsmill Championship on Sunday by five shots, setting the tournament record with a 20-under 264 total in Williamsburg, Va. The American closed with her third 6-under 65 of the week to leave In Gee Chun in her dust.
The win is Thompson’s eighth (coincidentally, Chun was runner-up in her last win in February 2016), but it’s more significant because it is her first since incurring a four-stroke penalty which cost her the ANA Inspiration, the first major of the year. On the 12th hole in the final round, Thompson was assessed two separate two-stroke penalties after a fan alerted Tour officials to a rules violation she committed on the 17th hole of the third round. The penalties sent Thompson from a two-stroke lead to a two-stroke deficit, which she overcame to get into a playoff before losing to eventual winner So Yeon Ryu.
Thompson, who had much of her family with her through the week, reveled in the support from them and the fans.
“Words can’t even describe it,” she said. “I’m a big family girl. I love being around my family. Just feeling the support and love from them through my whole life has meant the world to me. Just to hear the fans cheering me on and giving me high fives in between shots and holes, it means so much. It helps me pull through rounds like this.”
Thompson kickstarted her week on Wednesday by tandem skydiving out of an airplane and sliding into the first fairway at Kingsmill. It was part of an announcement of a partnership with SEAL Legacy Foundation, a charity honoring Navy SEALs, and it also gave her pro-am playing partners quite a thrill.
“It’s a huge honor, and I had a few out there following me,” she said. “Means the world just to be able to show my support for the men and women that serve our country. That’s why I’m allowed to do what I am today.”