The High Rollers on the strip in “Sin City” weren’t the only ones rolling the dice this week in Las Vegas. You can also add the brain thrust behind this year’s 41st Edition of the Shriners Children’s Open to that group. It looked like the PGA Tour was looking for some way to make this year’s Open something special.
The organizers huddled together and decided to revive a seldom used tactic, that seemed to work in the past. Why not invite a LPGA player to participate in the Shriners Children’s Open? The PGA Tour rolled the dice and extended an invitation to Lexi Thompson to play in this week’s event on a sponsor’s exemption and she accepted!
When Lexi was asked about her decision to play. She said, “I’ve been under the microscope I guess since I was 12 years old, you just have to block out everything and believe in yourself and go after what you want. No added pressure. That’s what I want. I want to have women support me, and me support them.”
After finishing her first round early Friday morning and posting a 2-over 73, the eleven-time LPGA Tour winner stepped on the gas on day two carding a 2-under 69 to fall just short of making the cut in her PGA TOUR debut.
When asked if she would do it again, she said, “Yeah, of course, I mean this was such a special moment for me and to have my family and loved ones here with me it was even more special. So, we’ll see.”
Thompson is just the second woman to finish a round in the 60s on the PGA Tour after Michelle Wie West carded 68 two separate times at the Sony Open. Lexi left no doubt in everyone’s mind that she can compete with the men.
She followed in the footsteps of an elite band of women golfers who have played in men’s events on the PGA Tour. A list that begins with the legendary Babe Didrikson Zaharias in (1935 -1946), Shirley Spork (1952), Annika Sorenstam (2003), Suzy Whaley (2003) Michelle Wie West (2004-08), and Brittany Lincicome (2018) are the only other women to compete in a TOUR event.
The TPC Summerlin Course is a par 71 and 7,255-yard course designed by Bobby Weed and Fuzzy Zoeller. It is considered to be one of the easier courses on the PGA TOUR and has often been referred to as the tour’s yearly Birdie Fest. An $8.4 million purse is up for grabs, with $1.51 million to the winner. Tom Kim was the winner of last year’s Children’s Open.
A number of top players entered into this week’s tournament found themselves heading back home Friday night. Here are seven big names who missed the cut, which came in at -3 under 139. Charley Hoffman -2, Ryan Palmer -2, Adam Schenk -2, Scott Stallings -2, Stewart Clink -1, Emiliano Grillo E, and Lexi Thompson E.
The Third Round saw the leaderboard in constant motion as players moved in and out of the top 6 places until the dust settled at the end of a long day at the TPC Summerlin Course. This was the leaderboard going into the final round. 1st Lanto Griffin -15, Adam Hadwin -15, Tom Kim -15. 4th Kyoung-Hoon Lee -14, Taylor Pendrith -14, Vince Whaley -14
The Final Round was greeted with bright sunny skies and light winds. The day started with 17 players either at the top of the leaderboard or within three shots of the lead and that really hasn’t changed as it became even more crowded at the TPC Summerlin Course just 10 miles from the Las Vegas Strip.
Eric Cole, who started the final round at -9, had finished as the leader in the clubhouse and in the tournament at -18. This was the leaderboard as the final pairing reached the 10th tee. 1st Eric Cole -18 (62). 2nd Tom Kim -17, Beau Hossler -17, Taylor Pendrith -17, and Alex Noren -17, Joel Dahmen -17. Following the leaderboard today was like trying to follow one during a horse race. It just had players changing positions throughout the round on almost every hole.
The leaderboard turned into a 2-man race as the final twosome of Tom Kim -20 and Adam Hadwin -19 reached the par 5 16th hole. Kim was on in 2 and Hadwin reached the green in 4 after hitting his 2nd shot into the water in front of the green. Hadwin -18 bogeyed the hole while Kim -20 parred the hole. At this point in the tournament, there were 5 players 2 shots below Kim at -18 with only 2 of them still on the course.
Tom Kim successfully defended his 2022 Championship here at the Shriners Children’s Open with a -20 under par. He also picked up a check for $1.51 million and 500 FedEx Points to go along with it. This is Kim’s 3rd PGA TOUR victory. He also won the 2022 Wyndham Championship and the 2022 Shriners Children’s Open.
Adam Hadwin -19 birdied the 18th hole to take sole possession of 2nd place and a check for $915,600 and 300 FedEx points. The other four golfers will split the 3rd through 6th Place checks and the FedEx Points that go along with those places. They are Eric Cole, J.T.Poston, Alex Noren, and Taylor Pendrith all at -18.
Kim was asked by the Golf Channels reporter, “How do you feel after successfully defending your Championship here at the Children’s Open.” Kim responded, “It was a long day, I’m not gonna lie to you. You know, I just kind of really felt confident about myself. You know I was playing really well; I knew that if I just kind of did me, I was gonna be able to do it, and it’s been a long season you know. It’s almost a year later and here we are again. I’m very very fortunate to defend again and really just going to give glory to the man above for just kind of guiding me. You know I’ve learned so much this year and it’s been such a blessing. It’s been very humbling, but now I’m happy to get this one for our team.”
The Shriner’s Children’s Open event is the last one to be held in the United States until the RSM Classic Nov 16-19 at St. Simons Island, GA. The next three tournaments are scheduled to be held in Chiba, Japan, Los Cabo’s, Mexico, and Southampton, Bermuda.