Though the Aramco Team Series is a Saudi Arabian event at the Trump International Golf Club, South Florida product Lexi Thompson gets a chance to play in her backyard this week and on her home course owned by one of her favorite persons.
Thomas, the Coral Springs native who now lives in Delray Beach, shot to fame when she was 12, winning a USGA qualifier to earn a spot in the 2007 US Women’s Open, becoming the youngest to do so.
Crediting her two golf-playing brothers, Thompson turned pro at 15 and won her first LPGA event at 16.
At age 28, the 6-footer has 11 LPGA titles, still going strong, though she took a respite in 2023, playing few events.
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In its third year, the Aramco Series is part team event, part individual tournament with its sponsor a Saudi Arabian oil company.
The format calls for a foursome of three pros from either the LPGA or Ladies European Tour linked with one amateur. The tournament takes place Friday to Sunday at the West Palm Beach course.
The team event is Friday and Saturday and the individual title is up for grabs in Sunday’s final round. (The scores of the pros are added up from the three days of rounds).
The tournament is the second Aramco event of 2023 after March’s Singapore event won by Lydia Ko, who’s also entered here. The Aramco will move on to competitions in London, Hong Kong and Riyadh.
Last October, Thompson won the first Aramco event on American soil, held in The Bronx at a Trump golf facility. Thompson is now on home turf trying for an American sweep.
Thursday, the pre-tournament pro-am will be held and is closed to the public and media. Sources indicated former President Donald Trump is expected to compete.
Thompson held a press conference Wednesday at Trump’s course, then conducted a Q-and-A with The Palm Beach Post.
Now that LPGA event in Boca Raton has gone by the wayside. does this make up for it?
”It’s always nice to have an additional event in Florida. There’s so many golfers based here, especially in the Palm Beach/Jupiter area. We have one in Orlando and Naples. We have a few here and hopefully we’ll get a few more. Any Florida events we get, I look forward to them. Usually because I get to drive and this one’s very close – only about 25 minutes from my home and I practice out of here. It would mean the world to me to defend the title. I have a lot of family, friends coming up to support me, so it’ll be a blast of a week.”
What’s your thoughts on having Saudi Arabia running this tour?
“Honestly, these events are put on so well and Aramco has been a huge supporter of the ladies European tour and golf in general. We’re all out there playing a game we love. Having the support from sponsors in Saudi Arabia and Aramco, it’s great to be able to play here.’’
How is it being a golfing buddy of Donald Trump’s?
“I’ve played with Mr. Trump quite a bit being out here 10-plus years. I’ve seen him out a lot, played a lot of rounds with him. He’s a big supporter of women’s golf and my family as well. We’re forever grateful of that friendship.”
What does Trump have to work on golf-wise?
“He drives it straight. I’m always on his team. We make a good team. He’s a pretty good golfer – not too bad. And he absolutely loves the game. Just a big supporter of golf.
Would you still like to see a women’s LIV tour?
“There hasn’t been any talks about it. I’m focusing on the tournaments I can play in this year. Not much we can do about it. We’ll continue to play our butts off. There’s still enough going on in the golf world and see how far we can take our tour.”
What went into the decision to take a break in 2023?
“Honestly, it’s about living a life, spending time with friends and family at home. Being able to go to bed and not have a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call and have to get out there to training and to a tee time. Just being able to do what I want. Even though I’m out there practicing, I can come out here for a few hours and then lay by my pool for multiple hours. Or go out. Whatever I want to do. It’s very important to have that balance. I’m so family oriented, time away from my family does more harm than me being out there playing multiple days.Do you frequent downtown Delray?
“Yeah. I love Delray. I still get the nightlife, love the restaurants, bars. It’s a very fun downtown area. I love it in Delray. I was living in West Palm, Jupiter, There’s a lot of golf and I was just trying to get away from that to have more of a balance.’’
Thompson also answered some questions from her press conference.Do you feel an edge playing your home course and with the heat?
“I would say it’s a little bit of an advantage being my home course, but you still have to go out there and hit the golf shots. And the weather does look very nice coming into the week. Very hot. But I’m used to it. I just played nine, but this is getting to be summer weather. It feels like it’s very humid out there, but just have to drink a lot of water.’’
What stands out about this course?
“I’m out here pretty much every day, if not every other day. And it’s just a very difficult golf course and they have it set up difficult yardage-wise. So it’s a ball-striker golf course. You have to definitely commit to your lines off the tee. And it requires a lot of really good tee shots. It’s very scenic, a lot of water, palm trees. It’s in the best shape I’ve ever seen. But you have to really commit to your lines, sometimes play more aggressively because you want shorter clubs coming into some of the greens because some are elevated, some have a lot of slope.’’
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Lexi Thompson competing in Aramco Team Series at Trump International Golf Club