Lexi Thompson is unbelievable in so many ways.
She’s unbelievably long off the tee.
She’s unbelievably composed for a 22-year-old.
Lexi looked for all intents and purposes like she was on her way to winning the CME Group Tour Championship Sunday at Tiburon.
She battled the best, got ahead of her main nemesis — Sung Hyun Park. She made an incredible pitch at the par five 17th, hitting her third inside two feet to made birdie to go 15-under par.
At the 18th, she nuzzled a difficult 60-footer to about 22-inches — a mere tap-in to take the lead in the clubhouse.
Then Lexi was unbelievable in the worst way. She made the worst-looking stroke on the 22-incher. It didn’t even hit the hole. It was her only brain-dead move of the long final round.
That yip opened the door for former world’s No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn and the personable talent from Thailand took full advantage. She holed a 14-foot putt for birdie at the 17th to tie Thompson and Jessica Korda at 14-under. Then, after a great second into 18, rolled another of the same length dead-center to win the tournament.
Another devastating loss for Lexi?
Her tie for second was good enough to win her the Race To The CME Globe — the overall championship for the entire season.
Oh yes, there’s that little matter of the compensation. That would be $1,000,000, yes ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
Bone-head, choking yip stroke? Sure.
But it’s easy to get over something like that when they hand you a cool million.
Or maybe not.
Had Thompson made the putt and won a playoff with Jutanugarn, she would have moved to No. 1 in the world and would have taken Player Of The Year honors. Instead, Park and So Yeon Ryu ended in a tie for Player Of The Year honors.
“It was a good way to end the season” Thompson said after the shocking finish. “Overall, a lot of positives to take from today. Winning the CME Globe and the Vare Trophy was a huge honor.”
As for the disaster on her par putt, she said: “It wasn’t the way I wanted to end it. I really don’t know what happened there. I wasn’t even thinking about it. I putted great the whole day. I did my routine; I guess it’s just golf. I’ll move on.”
Perhaps that miss will remind Thompson that she still has a lot to learn, more polish still needed on her game.
Yes, her short game and putting have come a long way. “She (Lexi) was a terrible putter two years ago. Since then she’s become a good putter but every now and then the nerves come in,” observed golf analyst and Hall Of Famer Judy Rankin.
Lexi’s been through a lot this year. On and off the golf course.
What makes her so good is her determination.
Will she let the missed 22-inch putt bother her? Maybe for a day or so.
She’ll have some off-time to think about what could have been.
But she’ll also see what was — you know — the million bucks.
And that means there might be a new Corvette on order.
She’s talking about at 2019 ZR-1.
Good season Lexi. You’ll be just fine.