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LPGA approves Thompson to become tour member

LPGA Tour Commissioner Michael Whan announced on Friday that he approved Lexi Thompson's petition for LPGA Tour membership for the 2012 season.

"Lexi Thompson is a unique talent who has continued to grow, develop and mature both on and off the golf course since turning professional in 2010," said Whan in a statement released by the LPGA Tour. "Her overall performance, most recently demonstrated by her win at the Navistar LPGA Classic, has currently placed her among the top 50 in the world on the Rolex Rankings.

"Additionally, her ability to handle the success and disappointment inherent to this game testifies to a level of maturity that I believe makes her capable of handling the emotional rigors of professional golf. Therefore, effective at the start of our 2012 season, Lexi will officially become a member of the LPGA Tour."

Thompson, 16, wasn't permitted to become a member based on the tour's age policy. Per LPGA rules, a player between the age of 15 and 18 must petition to apply for membership and Thompson's camp recently did that.

She won this year's Navistar LPGA Classic a few weeks back to become the tour's youngest winner ever.

The tour previously accepted Thompson's petition for membership, but based on that decision, Thompson would've been able to earn her tour card for next year via the LPGA Qualifying tournament.

The victory at the Navistar earned her membership without having to go through Q School.

"Clearly, there is great enthusiasm and excitement as Lexi begins her LPGA career," Whan said. "I think her future is bright and I hope she makes the most of this opportunity."