NAPLES, Fla. – With brother Curtis on the bag, Lexi Thompson was all smiles after posting a bogey-free 7-under 65 at the CME Group Tour Championship. Still searching for her first win in 2018, the LPGA’s top American trails Amy Olson by two strokes early on at Tiburon Golf Club.
“Having my brother out here on my bag is a great change,” said Thompson, who parted ways with caddie Kevin McAlpine earlier this month after playing in Japan. “Just his personality, he gets along with everybody and is so upbeat and positive.”
Curtis actually tried to Monday-qualify for the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic, but after his 5-under 65 came up short he made his way down to Naples to pick up the bag for Lexi. Had he qualified, Thompson’s father, Scott, would’ve stayed on the bag. A former LSU player who competed on the Web.com Tour this year, Curtis will play on the Mackenzie Tour in 2019.
As much as Lexi enjoys having her brother inside the ropes, she doesn’t foresee him being on the bag full-time. But he will work for her again in Naples at the QBE Shootout, where Lexi will partner with Tony Finau.
“It’s kind of like one of those cars where you’re going down a fixed rail,” said Curtis of looping for Lexi. “You’ve just got to keep her in the lines.”
Thompson said she typically skips the Asian event ahead of CME because she wants to be well-rested for the season-ender, where a large contingent of friends and family usually comes out to support. This week’s entourage also includes Thompson’s Havapoo puppy, Leo.
“I’ve been in this game since I was 12 years old,” said Thompson. “I’ve been in kind of, I don’t want to say spotlight, but I’ve been in since I made it to the first U.S. Women’s Open. It’s been a lot to deal with, but I knew once I got into this game and turned professional that that’s what came with it. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. Growing up, golf was always in my blood. I knew what came with it. Unfortunately, there have been a lot of downs, but it makes the ups that much better.”