Lexi Thompson became the second-youngest winner of an LPGA Tour major championship, closing with a 4-under-par 68 to beat Michelle Wie by three strokes in the Kraft Nabisco Championship on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.
The 19-year-old Thompson won for the fourth time on the LPGA Tour and for the third time in her last 12 tournaments. Morgan Pressel, who won the Kraft Nabisco at the age of 18 in 2007, is the only younger winner of an LPGA Tour major.
“I’ve been dreaming all my life of winning the Kraft Nabisco and jumping into Poppie’s Pond,” said Thompson, who followed tournament tradition and made the leap into the lake the surrounds the 18th green with family and friends. “I’ve worked my whole life to win a major and that was my main goal this year.
“It’s just so exciting and gratifying to have this opportunity with an amazing family and such a great support system here with me. … I just love playing here and I just played so well all week.”
Thompson was tied with Wie entering the final round, but took sole possession of the lead with a birdie on the first hole and gained command with four birdies on the front nine, before putting it on cruise control by staying out of trouble and finishing with nine consecutive pars while playing bogey-free.
Wie, the 24-year-old out of Stanford seeking her third LPGA Tour victory and first since 2010, got back to even with a birdie at No. 2 before falling back with bogeys on Nos. 3 and 8. She never caught up while closing with a 71.
Two-time major champion Stacy Lewis, who won the 2011 Kraft Nabisco, closed with a 69 to finish third, seven shots behind and one stroke ahead of two other multiple major winners, Cristie Kerr, who finished with a 72, and Se Ri Pak of South Korea, who had a 74.
Defending champion Inbee Park of South Korea, No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, capped a miserable week in which she did not break 70 with a 74 and wound up 38th.