Lexi Breaks New Ground With PGA Tour Debut

Lexi Thompson will become just the seventh female player to tee it up on the PGA Tour when she plays in the Shriners Children’s Open next week. The Solheim Cup star has endured a poor season on the LPGA Tour but then produced a brilliant week's work at the Solheim Cup in Spain where she contributed three points from four matches.

The 28-year-old then flew straight to Arkansas where she had a top 10 and she now appears to have found her game again - at the Solheim her suspect putting looked to have improved no end.

And now she will follow in the footsteps of Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley, Michelle Wie-West and Brittany Lincicome at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.

Playing on a sponsor's invitation, the one-time Major winner said: "I'm hopeful that my ability to play with the men next week at the Shriners Children's Open sends a great message to the young women that you can chase your dream regardless of how hard it is. I'm grateful to Shriners Children's for this opportunity to spend the week alongside these inspirational kids.”

Thompson's former Solheim team-mate Lincicome was the last female to play on the men's tour when she shot 78-71 to miss the cut at the Barbasol. The most iconic moment came when Sorenstam played in the 2003 Bank of America Colonial. That came 58 years after Zaharias' previous start and caused plenty of headlines.

Sorenstam, then the dominant player in the women's game, opened with a one-over 71 – she actually led the field for driving accuracy and was in the top 20 for greens in regulation – and looked to be in with a chance of making the cut before then adding a five-over 75 to finish in a tie for 96th of the 111 who played both rounds.

"I think that I just feel very fortunate to do what I do. And for me to come here, get the opportunity to really push myself and live my dream and I hope other women and girls feel the same way that they just got to follow their heart," Sorenstam said in 2003.

"That's why I'm here. I just want to push myself and do what I love to do the best. And yeah, it's been really a historical moment this whole week. To be part of all this, this is something that I will never forget. I got so much support from my Tour and all these people out here and I wish I played a little better and we could continue the next two days. But I mean the people that cheered me on was, it's been so wonderful and I hope they had a good time as well. I think they all made this week so special."

Zaharias first played in a men's event in 1938, then in 1945 when she was back playing as an amateur, she played in three more where she made the cut in two of them. She remains the only woman to have achieved this.

In 2004, a 14-year-old Wie-West made her PGA Tour debut at the Sony Open in Honolulu where she shot 72-68 and missed the cut by a single stroke.