After winless 2020, Lexi Thompson's 2021 goals likely hinge on her putter

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – For seven consecutive seasons Lexi Thompson was a winner on the LPGA. That changed last year during a limited 12-event campaign that saw Thompson total just three top-10s and snap her win streak, which was the LPGA’s longest active.

So, after tying for fifth at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in late December, Thompson went to work on her game in hopes of starting a new streak this season.

“Basically, everything I worked on,” Thompson said with a chuckle. “It didn’t feel like much of an offseason. But, just trying to get more consistent with everything. And figure out the putter.”

Thompson, who has historically struggled on the greens, has lost track of how many putters she’s used during her career. With two events remaining last season, Thompson swapped a Taylormade Spider Mallet putter into her bag. She continued to work with that flatstick during her three-week offseason and it’s remained in play this week.

Through 36 holes of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, Thompson finds herself in the top 10 but also seven shots back of leader Danielle Kang. She needed 30 putts in Thursday’s opening round and 33 on Friday.

“I left a lot out there today, unfortunately,” Thompson said. “But if I get them to fall this weekend, I can make a move and we’ll see what happens.”

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A hot putter also will be key for Thompson in achieving her biggest goals of the year: making the Olympic and Solheim Cup teams.

Thompson was one of three Americans to compete at the Rio Olympics in 2016. It was an experience that meant so much to her that she had the Olympic rings tattooed on her wrist. Thompson is currently the third-highest American in the Rolex Rankings at No. 11 and T-6 in the Solheim Cup points standings.

“Any time I can represent my country that’s my No. 1 goal,” Thompson said. “This is definitely a big year so I’m going to take it one tournament at a time and see.”

A solid finish on Sunday, or a return to the winner’s circle, would go a long way toward shoring up her position on both teams.

“It would always mean the world to me,” Thompson said about the prospect of winning again. “I go into every tournament wanting to win. Unfortunately, I can’t win them all, but I’ll definitely try my best.”