Lexi Thompson finished third in the Marathon Classic, but she'll walk away a winner in at least one regard:
Thompson, 18 years old, aced the 180-yard 14th hole to lay claim to a new car.
The hole-in-one moved her to 11 under par, but a birdie later by leader Beatriz Recari pushed Thompson five shots off the pace in fourth. Thompson finished four back in the LPGA Tour event at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio, despite a final-round 67.
“That was amazing. I can't describe the feeling in words. I hit just a little backed off 6-iron and it just kept on rolling, rolling, and just disappeared. So I dropped my club and I just went crazy,” Thompson said. “It's the best feeling just to hear the crowd cheering. I went up the line just high-fiving everybody. It was awesome.”
The ace was Thompson's fourth but her first in official competition.
She did make an ace in Taiwan earlier in her career, but it was during a pro-am and she missed out on collecting the Audi R8 Spyder.
“I have bad luck with cars,” Thompson said.
Thompson had made nothing but pars in the previous 13 holes, yet the ace might have given her something of a boost: It wasn't long before Thompson made her first two birdies of the day, at Nos. 17-18, to finish in a tie for third with Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
No. 28 in the Rolex Rankings, Thompson won the 2011 Navistar Classic. She'll add a Kia Cadenza, as well as this week's paycheck, to her $222,537 in earnings this season.
The 14th also proved critical for Beatriz Recari in her one-shot win over Paula Creamer. It was the only hole during the last 12 that the two, playing in the same group as Thompson, had different scores — Recari with a birdie, Creamer with a par.
Thompson's hole-in-one came on the same day that older brother Michael finished solo fourth at the PGA Tour's Sanderson Farms Championship in Madison, Miss. The elder Thompson missed out on a playoff by two shots despite four birdies on his last six holes.
"We text each other pretty much every day, saying, 'Good luck, keep your head up out there," Lexi Thompson said before her round. "It's nothing but just encouraging each other. . . . We have always been there for each other no matter what . . . helping each other out with our games and our attitudes on life."
Lexi Thompson was the second golfer to pick up the keys to a Kia in the tournament. Katherine Hull-Kirk aced the same 14th hole on Friday.