Not only would this victory be Thompson’s second win of 2017 she has also recorded five runner-up finishes and today was another example of the quality of golf she has been playing.
Tied with former World Number One, Lydia Ko, heading into today’s final round in an event scheduled to finish on Saturday to accommodate travel requirements for next week’s Evian Championship in France, Thompson was locked in a tight battle with Ko for much of the first nine holes, only one shot separating the pair at the turn.
When Thompson birdied the 10th and Ko double bogeyed the 11th however the margin quickly became four and although Thompson gave her chasers a little bit of hope when she bogeyed the 16th the final margin would be four over Ko.
It was Thompson’s 9th career win at the age of just 22 and she continues to earn much respect after an incident at the ANA Inspiration which could well have derailed her career.
There, in a well-documented transgression of the rules, she was penalised four shots during the final round for not correctly replacing her ball on the 17th green the previous day but that she has won twice and been three times runner-up in 11 events since clearly indicates she has been able to put behind her an event which proved so emotional for her at the time and in the immediate aftermath.
“I knew my game was in a good spot even though I did not play my best last week in Portland but knew if I worked on it on Monday Tuesday and Wednesday I knew I would have a good chance,” said Thompson describing her thoughts on her chances as she entered this week.
“It is a big confidence booster going into the last major of the year next week. It is a hard golf course there (in France) and it is a mentally draining week there but this is a real confidence boost.
“Winning is such a huge honour but knowing that my hard work is paying off is always the best feeling.
“It would be a huge honour to win the year-long CME Globe and even though I don’t really pay attention to it (week by week), as I am trying to play my best golf every time I tee it up, it would be huge.”
Part of Thompson’s celebrations included a drive around the Indianapolis Brickyard raceway within which several holes of the Brickyard Crossing layout are routed, a treat which Thompson particularly enjoyed.
“I went around the track in a Corvetter Stingray which made my day. I have one at home but to have gone around the track at 122 mph was great.”
Lydia Ko was unable to keep pace with her co-leader on the final day but she will be delighted with a significant return to form given the scrutiny a season well below her best has received.
The double bogey at the 11th effectively destroyed her chances of victory and although Thompson was too good this week, for Ko the return to form sees her heading to the Evian Championship, the scene of her first major title win two years ago, with a great more confidence than was the case heading into this week.
Two weeks after Evian Championship is the inaugural staging of the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open as an LPGA Tour event so for Ko she, too, will take a great boost from her effort in Indianapolis.
While she may not have won, Ko added her name yet again to the LPGA Record Books. In her 93rd start as a professional and with the $186,096 runner-up check, Ko became the fastest player in LPGA history to cross $8 million in career earnings at $8,021,004. The previous mark was held by Yani Tseng, who crossed that threshold in her 98th event.
Australian Minjee Lee closed off strongly with a final round of 67, the equal best of the day, to finish alone in 3rd position to add another US$133,000 to her season’s earnings and she now moves into 15th position on the money list with US$830,000 to her name.
Su Oh was another to record a final round of 67 to storm into 19th position after starting the week with 75.
Sarah Jane Smith was 30th, Katherine Kirk 42nd and Sarah Kemp 63rd.
THE 50 YARD PITCH DANIELLE KANG