Dec 7 (Reuters) - Women’s world number five Lexi Thompson will be following in the footsteps of golfing great Annika Sorenstam when she competes with the men, off the men’s tees, at this week’s Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples, Florida.
Swede Sorenstam was paired with Fred Couples at the 54-hole team event in 2006 and Thompson, a seven-times winner on the LPGA Tour, will make her debut in the tournament hosted by Greg Norman in partnership with PGA Tour rookie Bryson DeChambeau.
The duo, who share an equipment and apparel sponsor, will be competing against 11 other teams in the Dec. 8-10 event at Tiburon Golf Club.
“It’s going to be fun paired up with Bryson,” Thompson, 21, told the Naples Daily News. “I love team events and to get an invite from Greg Norman, you don’t get that very often. I‘m going to have a good time and see how I do.”
Australian Norman, who has hosted the unofficial PGA Tour event since 1989, has previously played with Thompson and was impressed by her long hitting.
”I have to do everything in my power to out-drive her,“ Norman was quoted as saying. ”She gets it out there to a point where I don’t think it’s a problem no matter where the PGA Tour puts the tee markers.
“She’s going to be able to hold her own. She’s obviously a lot longer than I ever was.”
Americans Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker will be defending the title they won last year by two shots. (Editing by Greg Stutchbury)