Thomson setting sights on LPGA Tour

For most 22-year-old girls, to pick up and move their lives to New York City would be like living the life of Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex and the City.”
Or, in the case of Fort Frances native Christen Thomson, it’s more like the life of Annika Sorenstam on Golf and the City.
Now in her final year at St. Johns University in Queens, N.Y. and about to receive a Bachelor of Science degree, with a major in sports management and a minor in business, this young golfer is ready to pursue her life-long dream of making the LPGA Tour.
“I knew in my early teens that I wanted to play golf. It was different than all the other sports I played,” Thomson remarked. “So I started playing in tournaments all over Manitoba and Minnesota.”
What started out in high school as junior tournament golf (playing for a new bag or order of merit points) eventually translated into a full scholarship at university for this scratch golfer.
Not to mention the opportunity to play against some of the top young female golfers in the United States—and make great contacts.
“It’s all about how you play and who you know,” Thomson said.
Local golfer Shawn O’Donnell was the one who introduced Thomson to a circuit of people and helped her earn the scholarship to St. Johns.
“We still keep in touch and he continues to support me,” she said.
But even with all the support in the world from her family and friends, Thomson recognized that, most of all, she has to support herself and work hard to make her dream come true.
She is the first to admit she’s given up a lot over the years to get to where she is today.
“You sacrifice a social life,” she explained. “I don’t mind, though, because I’m doing what I want to do and what I’ve always dreamed of doing.”
While back home over the weekend for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, Thomson shared what it’s like to juggle school, golf, friends, golf, homework, and work-outs.
“I have to be really organized,” she stressed. “I usually start class at about 7:30 a.m. and classes go until lunch, then we work-out, then we practice in the afternoon for two or three hours, dinner, homework, and bed.”
But her dedication and determination obviously has paid off in her quest to becoming a great golfer.
In fact, in the last tournament she competed in, facing women of all ages with years more experience in Florida earlier this month, Thomson carded six-straight birdies on the final day en route to a three-under par 69.
“That was probably the best experience I’ve had at a tournament,” she enthused. “It was great because my dad was there to witness it, too.”
Ambry Bishop, Thomson’s coach for the past two seasons, also has been there to witness her success and improvement.
“Christen works very hard on her game and, as a result, has improved a lot,” Bishop said.
PGA Tour professional Richard Zokol says one of the toughest things to do on the golf course is control frustration and emotion—in other words, the mental part of the game (hence the earphones on the golf course).
But according to Bishop, that’s one of Thomson’s biggest strengths.
“She is pretty even-keeled on the golf course,” Bishop said. “You can never really tell how she’s feeling.”
Although Thomson may not show emotion on her face when she is feeling pressure, sometimes the stress is evident in her game.
“Kristen just needs to work on playing well in pressure situations in order to get to the next level,” Bishop explained. “She has a very promising career.”
Now with only one semester left until graduation, Thomson said it was nothing short of a huge adjustment moving from a town with 8,000 people to city of eight million.
“There are so many people crammed in and everyone always seems like they’re in a huge rush,” she recalled.
Which is why when she’s home, besides the home-cooked meals, she appreciates the small town things that often are taken for granted.
“I grew up always seeing everyone I knew,” she said. “Everyone is so much more relaxed here.”
Although she misses her home-town, it doesn’t seem like Thomson will be seeing too much of Fort Frances over the next few years. “I’ve always thought really far ahead and now I just want to finish school and play,” she said.
Getting experience by competing against new players and on different courses is the next step for this rising star.
“My dream is to play on the LPGA Tour,” Thomson said. “I want to be the number-one golfer in the world.”