Thompson finished joint 22nd in Dubai last year. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: These are staggering numbers. At 12, she was the youngest golfer ever to qualify to play in the US Women's Open. She turned professional in June, 2010 at 15. Then on September 18, 2011, she set a new record as the youngest ever winner of an LPGA tournament, at 16 years, seven months, and eight days, when she won the Navistar LPGA Classic.

Career on course

By now, of course, you know who we are talking about. Back in Dubai after finally winning her battle to become a member of the LPGA Tour, American golf prodigy Alexis ‘Lexi' Thompson told XPRESS why, despite having one more year at school, she can now concentrate fully on matters of the golf course. "Well...it just means I can play a lot more now. I don't have to think of limited membership or sponsors' exemptions any more. I am really looking forward to 2012," said the home-schooled player.

Thompson had successfully petitioned the LPGA to receive a waiver to the rule that LPGA Tour members must be at least 18 years old, allowing her to enter the 2011 LPGA Qualifying School for Tour membership in 2012.

She won the first of the three stages by 10 strokes and after winning the Navistar LPGA Classic, withdrew from qualifying school and petitioned the LPGA for membership based on her win. It was approved on September 30.

"There was definitely some discussion among my co-players whether I should be allowed or not. But that's all in the past. Now it's up to me to prove I belong here," she said.

Thompson finished 22nd at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters in her maiden foray last year and hopes to do much better this time around.

"I know the course well now. I am really looking forward to doing well. As it is, I try to do my best in every tournament and try to keep on improving," she said, having won the challenge match along with partner Sophie Gustafson.

Looking ahead to the new year, the 44th-ranked Thompson smiled when asked if winning a Major was her next target. "The Major thought hasn't crossed my mind yet. For now, I want to represent the US in the Solheim Cup, for that's been a long-cherished dream. I think there can be nothing bigger than playing for your country," she said.

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Thompson has already represented winning US teams in the Junior Solheim Cup in 2009 and Curtis Cup in 2010