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Lexi Thompson hoping hard work pays off in a major way at ANA Inspiration

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – There’s never been a doubt that Lexi Thompson works hard. She does two-a-day workouts in the gym and is one of the fittest players on the LPGA Tour.

In 2021, she’s making that same commitment to her game.

Work was the buzzword on Tuesday as Thompson met with the media ahead of the season’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, which she won in 2014. Coming off a runner-up finish at last week’s Kia Classic, she pointed to the hours she’s been spending on all aspects of her game, ranging from putting, to short game, to mental fitness.

“It does a lot for my confidence but I think anybody’s in general, knowing that you’ve put in the hard work and dedication and see it pay off under the gun and under pressure,” Thompson said about her second-place finish last week. “It just makes me want to work even harder to hopefully win and just see the results continue to improve.”

ANA Inspiration: Full-field tee times | Full coverage

Tuesday, Thompson revealed her success comes on the heels of a few lessons with Martin Hall, who has long worked with fellow South Floridian Morgan Pressel. Thompson says they’ve worked together the past several months and they met on a handful of occasions. Thompson’s father, Scott, has been her primary coach throughout her career but she’s also spent brief stints with instructor Jim McLean.

“I put a lot of work in on my chipping and putting, hours a day, and just really making sure my ball-striking is more consistent,” Thompson said. “Keeping things simple but at the same time trying to improve on little things.”

Thompson, 26, is coming off the first year she didn’t win on Tour since 2012. In her season debut at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, she told she’d been working on “everything” during the Tour’s brief off-season.

Everything will be tested at a major championship like the ANA Inspiration, particularly Thompson’s mental agility. A tough test like Mission Hills Country Club demands constant focus and precision. And as much as the memory of leaping into Poppie’s Pond can buoy her spirits, it’s also a place where she endured a painful loss. In 2017, she was defeated in a playoff by So Yeon Ryu after incurring a penalty stroke on the closing stretch when a viewer called in to report an infraction that occurred the day before. The rule has since been changed to avoid the situation being repeated.

Thompson is now better equipped to mitigate those tough memories, along with the pressures that come with competing on the biggest stage in golf as she makes her 12th appearance at this event.

“Earlier in my career, like when I didn’t play as much as a full schedule, I think there’s a little bit more pressure on the majors,” Thompson said. “I’ve been working hard on my mental game and being more relaxed out there, and hopefully that helps me out more than anything.”

There’s never been a question whether Thompson works hard. The question is when will all the time, energy and effort pay off. And whether it happens at this week’s ANA Inspiration.

“I know I’ve put in the work physically on my game. So, just letting it go and letting my true talent show is what I want,” Thompson said. “You know, if that comes out to a win, great. If not, I’m going to continue working.”