THOMPSON REFRESHED, READY TO TAKE ON HIGHLAND MEADOWS
A week off does a body good. Or so Lexi Thompson hopes, as the 23-year-old fan favorite comes to the Marathon Classic fresh off a week of rest, but not necessarily relaxation.
“When I say my week off, I just mean I’m not traveling,” said Thompson with a laugh when asked if she sleeps in on her off-weeks. “I’m still going home, I’m training, practicing, just because I have a lot of important weeks like this one.”
For the record – Thompson claims she doesn’t sleep much at all.
Thompson played well at the 2017 Marathon Classic, carding a closing 66 on Sunday and finishing second at 17-under 267, four strokes behind champion In-Kyung Kim. Perhaps a return to Toledo and a course where she’s seen success (she has never finished worse than 18th in her four tournament appearances) could kick what has been a relatively quiet season into high gear.
“I feel like my game’s in a great spot,” said Thompson, who tees off No. 1 at 1:21 p.m. Thursday with Sei Young Kim and Brittany Lincicome. “I’ve had a few good tournaments the past weeks that I’ve played, and took a nice week off last week. So definitely refreshed, feel good about my game, and it’s always nice to come back to Marathon Classic.”
Should Thompson win, she would become the only player to have won a tournament in each of the last five years, dating back to 2013.
LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER – HOLLIS FOLLOWS IN MOM’S FOOTSTEPS AT MARATHON
When Sharon Minnich Hollis competed in the 1992 Jamie Farr Toledo Classic, little did she know that some 25-plus years later, her daughter would be following right in her footsteps.
“I always idolized my mom. I always wanted to beat her,” said Jillian Hollis, a Cleveland-area native competing in her second LPGA Tour event since turning professional in May. “That was my goal. I always wanted to outdrive her, and as soon as I could do those things, it was, okay, what’s next?”
Hollis is here on her second sponsor invitation to the Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning & O-I. She first stepped inside the ropes at Highland Meadows in 2016 as an amateur, with her proud mother in tow. But what Tournament Director Judd Silverman didn’t know was that Jillian Hollis, the young woman he had selected to receive an invitation, was related to Sharon Minnich, another young woman who received that honor from Silverman years earlier.
“Every time I see Judd, he reminds me of that story,” said Hollis, who missed the cut in 2016 but hopes to better that result this year. “He’s like I still can’t believe that I gave her an exemption and I gave you an exemption. Such a small world.”
WIN AND PIPATJARASGIT LIVING THE DREAM
On Monday, two Toledo golfers received a call that changed their luck.
Lizzie Win and Pinya Pipatjarasgit, former high school teammates at nearby St. Ursula Academy, played in the Monday qualifier for a chance to earn a spot among their golf heroes. Win (+4, 75) and Pipatjarasgit (+5, 76) both finished in the top 20 but packed up their golf bags, unable to squeak into the field. Unable, that is, until Monday night when Marathon Classic Tournament Director Judd Silverman made a special phone call.
“[Judd] said ‘I have a sponsor’s exemption for you, and for Lizzie too. Would you take it?’ I was speechless. I had no idea what to say,” recalled Pipatjarasgit, an incoming freshman at Brown University.
Win, an incoming junior at Seton Hall University, shared the same excitement. “Pinya comes running to my car, and was like, ‘Oh, my god, yes!’” said Win. “It’s been really, really cool to have this opportunity, especially with her, since we grew up playing junior golf and high school golf together.’”
Both girls have been among Ohio’s top amateurs for several years. Not just as teammates but almost like sisters, Win and Pipatjarasgit truly feel like their professional golf dreams are becoming a reality.
“We’ve been watching since we were little, and now to be able to be inside the ropes and be able to play, that’s just amazing,” said Pipatjarasgit, who will play with Candie Kung and Mind Muangkhumsakul. “Tomorrow it will be really real. I feel like this is like a dream.”
This is now a very special week for the Win family, who have hosted Brittany Lincicome during tournament week for the last 10 years. This year, two competitors will be sleeping under the same roof, with Lincicome even popping into the girls’ joint press conference to support her young friend.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a bad competition between the two of us – it’s good fun,” said Win, who is grouped with Brittany Benvenuto and Olafia Kristinsdottir. “We played in the practice round yesterday, all three of us. It was really cool and we don’t talk about golf at home. Just out here, it’s good golf, good fun. I can only take positives out of this and getting to play professionals and realize that we’re both good enough to compete at this level in the future after college.”