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Using Carnoustie caddie, Lexi Thompson in contention at AIG Women's Open

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Lexi Thompson’s caddie woes at the Olympics have led to a new man on her bag at the AIG Women’s Open.

Thompson is making her first start on the LPGA Tour since finishing 33rd in the Games. Her regular bagman, Jack Fulghum, was overcome by heat during the opening round in Tokyo and Thompson had several other people caddie for her over the remainder of the competition. She says she is no longer working with Fulghum.

“I think we've kind of separated ways for now,” Thompson said Thursday.

Thompson has Paul Drummond on the bag at Carnoustie Golf Links. Drummond is a local caddie who Thompson connected with based on a few recommendations ahead of the season’s final major. The looper’s local insights paid dividends for Thompson on Day 1 at Carnoustie, where she opened with a 3-under par 69.

“I don't play over here a ton, only really once a year. So, knowing the local knowledge of the golf course, the bounces, where to miss if you need to, it helps out tremendously and makes you a lot more free over certain shots,” Thompson said about having Drummond on her bag.

Full-field scores from AIG Women’s Open

Thompson doesn’t use a yardage book and heavily relies on her caddie for distances. When she’s been in between caddies in the past, she’s had her brother, Curtis, or her father, Scott, help. Last week, Curtis earned his PGA Tour card via the Korn Ferry Tour.

The local knowledge Drummond brings to the pairing is of major benefit for Thompson, who is only seeing the course for the first time this week. She joined the LPGA Tour in 2012 and missed out playing Carnoustie by one year as the AIG Women’s Open was first held at the famed links in 2011.

“I've heard a lot of good things about it, just how the layout is,” Thompson said about the course. “Obviously, heard about ‘Carnasty,’ so I expected it to be a little bit difficult, weather depending. It's just an amazing layout. It's tough, but it's fair. That's what we look for in a golf course.”

Not all the success of Thompson’s opening round 69 can be credited to her new caddie.

Lexi's caddie succumbs to intense heat in Rd. 1

Lexi Thompson's caddie, Jack Fulghum, was replaced for the final three holes on Wednesday due to heat sickness.

After the Olympics, Thompson returned home to Florida for five days. She says she spent five to six hours each day working on her game. That has been a common refrain for Thompson throughout the 2021 season as she’s recommitted herself to her game to return to the winner’s circle. Thompson went without a win in 2020, her first-ever winless season.

“My game's definitely in a good spot. It's probably the hardest I've ever worked on my game, in the mental side as well,” Thompson said. “That's how I always am. If I'm struggling, I'm going to be right back out there, just trying to keep on improving on my game.”

Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz, who is on-site reporting from Carnoustie, said during the opening round telecast that Thompson and Drummond were connected with the help of Lexi’s mother, Judy, who spoke with Graeme Baxter, a Scottish artist famous for his golf paintings, who helped make the introduction.

“He's such an amazing person,” Thompson said about her new caddie. “Great personality to have out on the bag. He caddies out here a bunch and is a great player as well. So that's even better.”

Thompson didn’t indicate whether Drummond will continue on her bag after this week’s major championship.