If it were just another stop on the LPGA tour, it would be a footnote in the golf calendar.

But this was different.

It was the final round of a Major--the Women's U.S. Open.

It was at an iconic site-- the Lake Course at San Francisco's famed Olympic Club.

And it involved an American, Lexi Thompson, who had created her own story line even before play began last Thursday.

This was the 26 year old Thompson's 15th U..S Open appearance.

Ponder that for a moment.

But for Thompson, who made her open debut as a 12-year old amateur in 2007, it was more basic, more humanizing.

What happened to Thompson in her quest to become the first American to win a women's Major since 2018, could have happened to any one of us.

Watching from Flat Screen Stadium (home office in Massachusetts) 3,123 miles away from Olympic, I saw shots that I--someone who is happy to break 100--have, can and will make in any given round.

I watched pitches from the middle of the fairway 109 yards away fall short into a bunker.

I watched another pitch in the short grass of a pristine fairway, basically chilly dipped and fall short of the green.

 I watched a world class golfer de-celerate on putt after putt, including one last pressure-laden push on the final hole which would have put her in a three woman playoff, which was eventually won by Yuki Sasso, a 19-year old Philippine.

Thompson stepped into the Olympic history books with her collapse, rivaling Arnold Palmer squandering a  7 shot lead over Billy Casper in the 1966, never even made it to a playoff.


Thompson, who has one major title in her resume, was classy all the way, attempting to find an instant excuse for losing a tournament in which she had a 5-shot lead after 8 holes, but finished with a staggering 5 over par in the last 7 holes, winding up with a bogey, bogey on 17 and 18.

"I really didn't feel like I hit any bad golf shots,'' said Thompson, who won her only Major 7 years ago. "That's what this course will do to you.''

Yes, it will, especially to tournament leaders going into the Sunday of a U..S Open.

In five previous men's Open championships held at Olympic, the 54-hole leader did not walk away with the championship, with the "losers'' including guys named Ben Hogan, Palmer and Tom Watson.

And the Lake Course did that to Thompson on the back nine.

 It did what US. Open courses are supposed to do--penalize shots into the rough.

But in the end it was not the course which defeated Thompson, who was fighting another losing battle to hide her true emotions.

In the end, her skills eluded her and the reality of the moment took over.

How else to explain what  happened  at the Par 5 17th when she basically miss hit a pair of easy chips and the missed another putt for a par?

How else to explain a shot in which in practice she probably hits on the green 9 or 10 times on No 18, but winds up in the bunker?

That mistake is followed by a mediocre--for a pro-blast out of the sand which sailed 10 foot past the hole.

By then, watching on television or watching the muted response from the gallery on 18, you knew it was over.

Thompson's 10 foot putt was two feet short and the collapse was complete.

The saving grace is that Lexi Thompson is still only 26. 

""I'll take today and lean from it,'' she said. ""And have a lot more weeks ahead, and a lot more years.''

Hopefully that is true and that there is a redemption tale to her career which has yet to be  written.

But it will take awhile for this memory to fade.