RANCHO MIRAGE, California (AFP) - Teenager Lexi Thompson won the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Sunday to deny Michelle Wie the win she was seeking to snap a four-year winless drought on the USLPGA Tour.
Thompson fired a closing four-under-par 68 for a 14-under total of 274 in the first Major of the season. That gave the 19-year-old American a three-stroke win over her compatriot Wie, who finished with three bogeys in the final round en route to a one-under 71.
"I worked my life to win a major. This was my main goal," Thompson said. "Overall it was a pretty solid week. This tournament is special to me."
She becomes just the second youngest to win a women's major championship. Only Morgan Pressel, who won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship at the age of 18, has won a women's Major at a younger age.
Thompson, who held a share of the third-round lead, clinched the victory by sinking a one-foot putt on 18. She sank the winning putt and was mobbed by her family members who poured beer over the teenager's head.
She then celebrated with a jump into the water hazard next to the 18th green with her caddie and entourage in tow. The jump into Poppy's Pond is a tradition at the Palm Springs-area tournament.
"I have always visualised myself jumping into that pond," Thompson said. "I went with the half cannon ball. I was going to take my shoes off."
The 24-year-old Wie made it easy for Thompson as she finished with three bogeys, including on the par-three No. 8 and the par-three No. 17. Wie had four birdies to shoot one-under on the day and finish with a 11-under 277 total.
The former teen sensation has two career wins on tour but none since the 2010 Canadian Women's Open. She said mental mistakes cost her the title, as she was unable to make the needed changes in her game plan when she began to fall behind.
"I got to a point where I just tried too hard. I tried to make birdies and forced everything," Wie said. "I wanted to make those putts so badly I just forced it."