Former Gamecock Wins Tour Opener In Bahamas

GREAT EXUMA, Bahamas (USC SID) — Former Gamecock men’s golf All-American Kyle Thompson is back in the winner’s circle on the Tour, after posting a victory in the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay Wednesday evening with a final score of 286 (-2). He was the only player in the field to shoot under-par in the first Tour tournament of the 2017 season.

“I didn’t see it coming,” said Thompson. “That was definitely one of the top three hardest rounds of my life, and I shot a score that kept me in the ball game. I just kept grinding and grinding. I just stayed very patient and persistent and worked really hard this offseason on my mental game and I think it paid off. Hopefully I can keep that sort of mindset going in the future”

Thompson shot 76 (+4) in the opening round, and then fired three-straight rounds of 70 (-2) to tally his fifth career Tour win. He was solid on the greens all week, recording zero 3-putts.

“We had some bad weather at home, so I practiced a lot on my golf swing, but I didn’t practice my putting at all,” said Thompson. “I come here and probably had the best putting week of my life.

Conditions were extremely tough over the entirety of the four day event as winds were howling and a major factor everyday on the oceanside course. The cutline was 11-over, which was the highest in Tour history.

“[The first round] was just brutal. I can’t even describe how hard it was,” Thompson said. “Even today it was so hard. I felt like I was the guy in Caddyshack who is having the round of his life walking straight into the breeze. I never gave up. I didn’t quit even though I had a rough start.”

Today was just the first step in a season-long journey for Thompson to gain PGA status again. In the previous three seasons in which Thompson recorded a victory on the Tour, he emerged with one of the 25 PGA Tour cards up for grabs two times. In 2016, only three players that won a tournament didn’t go on to earn their PGA Tour card.

Thompson had a stellar career as a Gamecock, earning All-America honors three times from 1999-2001. He was the individual medalist at two NCAA Regionals (1999, 2001). Thompson is tied for the lowest 18-hole score in school history (63) and the most top-five finishes (14).

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