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Alexis Thompson: Pro Golf's Teen Phenom

Even sand traps can't stop Alexis, seen here in her hometown of Coral Springs, Florida. (Photo courtesy of Red Bull)

Alexis Thompson shot into the spotlight as the youngest golfer, male or female, to ever qualify for the U.S. Open tournament (she was just 12 years old!). Four years later and now a Red Bull athlete, Alexis has turned pro, although she's limited to six tournaments per year until age 18. But her 5'11 frame and intense training and practice routine has helped her become one of the longest hitters playing in LPGA events! Yesterday, Alexis stopped by our offices after spending a day inspiring a few up-and-coming female junior golfers from the Northeast. We were inspired as well by her positive attitude and dedication to her sport. Here are five lessons we learned from the teen who's coming out swinging:

  1. Make it a family affair. Alexis has a golf-rich clan. "My 28-year-old brother is on the PGA Tour and my 18-year-old brother is on the LSU golf team," Alexis says. And she has some indispensable help out on the course. "My dad is my caddy. He puts confident thoughts in my head and knows my game the best."
  2. Train smart. "I play and practice six or seven hours on the golf course and workout with my trainer for 60 to 90 minutes a day," she says. The trainer she's referring to? Craig Slaunwhite, who is also the strength and conditioning coach for the NHL's Florida Panthers. They focus a lot on balance and flexibility, for example, practicing a golf swing on a Bosu ball. And cardio is also important: "I never did it before six months ago, and now running is one of my favorite activities. It boosts my energy—after I finish a round I feel like I can play 18 more!"
  3. Stay well-fueled. Although her dad may not love toting around the extra weight, Alexis stocks plenty of snacks in her golf bag. "I try to eat every three holes and pack bananas, apples, trail mix and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You can't always rely on what they sell along the course," Alexis says.
  4. Get pumped up. "My iPod is an important part of my equipment so I can tune everyone out before I play," she says. Alexis loves hip-hop and rap. Her current playlist picks include "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO and "I'm On One" by DJ Khaled, featuring Drake, Rick Ross and Lil' Wayne.
  5. Follow your passion. "No one has to tell me to practice. I love being out there," she says. And her mom, who also met with us yesterday, said that Alexis would often miss dinner to stay out on the fairways. "I won't be able to sleep if I end on a bad note," Alexis admits. "I can't go home until I hit at least one good shot when I'm having a bad day!"

Now tell us: What athlete motivates you to bring your A game?