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Lexi Thompson looks to make 'big change' with her putting during month-long break


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – As the Korda sisters battled Danielle Kang down the stretch at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, Lexi Thompson quietly wrapped up a closing 65 to move into the top 10.

Four consecutive rounds in the 60s weren’t enough to even become part of the conversation at the TOC. Thompson’s 14-under total put her 10 strokes behind Jessica Korda and Danielle Kang, with Korda ultimately draining a 25-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to take the title.

“My ball-striking was great this week,” said Thompson. “I just missed a lot of putts, but they were all over the edges, just off by half a ball of a read. The last few days I felt like I stroked it very well, so I’m going to take the positives out of it.”

Thompson spent four days in Cabo over the LPGA’s month-long offseason and enjoyed the holidays at home in south Florida with family. After about a week of time off, she got back to the grind, working with her father Scott and brother Curtis.

Scott said he was encouraged by her offseason practice, noting that her ball-striking has improved.

“We knocked the hook out,” he said. “We’re hitting it pretty straight. We can aim at every pin now.”

But it all comes down to one thing for Lexi: putting.

And Scott said they’re ready to try something different during the LPGA’s second offseason. There’s now a month off from competition before the tour resumes in late February for back-to-back events in Florida.

“We’ve tried everything,” said Thompson. “We’ve tried everything from different putters, different grips, different lengths, different lies, different lofts. Time for a big change.”

Scott wouldn’t go into details of what’s next, other than to say they’re going to see a couple of people who are in the putter business.

The LPGA’s putting stats include two categories: total putts and putts per green in regulation. So far 25 players have teed it up this season, and Thompson ranks 21st and 20th in in those two categories. (She was second in greens in regulation last week.)

When asked if she thought the work needed on the greens came down to technique or between the ears, Lexi said a little of both.

“The last two days I stroked it really well,” she said, “… having better tempo with my stroke instead of just wishing them in.”

Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson tees off during the CME Group Tour Championship on Dec. 16, 2020, at the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida. (Photo: Jon Austria/Naples Daily News)

Thompson has the Olympic rings tattooed on her left wrist and counts a chance to compete in Tokyo this summer as her No. 1 goal. A total of four Americans can make the team and all must be ranked inside the top 15.

Lexi’s streak of winning at least once per season, which dated back to 2013, ended in 2020. Her father said the streak’s end didn’t really faze her, and that she never talks about where she stands among the rest of the Americans.

Winning titles and team golf are top of mind, and it’s no secret how to get there.

“I have four weeks to get it down,” she said.

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