The Baker Orange

1-on-1 with Kelley Thompson

Story by Megan Henry

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After starting junior Kelley Thompson on the junior varsity squad for the Eagle Invitational, head coach Karen Exon had to reconsider her lineup.

During the Sept. 26-27 tournament, Thompson shot a 66 in the opening round, beating out Baker’s previous lowest-round score, which dates back to 2005.

“It’s just amazing. I’ve never sat on a lead in a golf tournament before,” Thompson said. “It was pretty spectacular. I had never broke par or shot in the 60s, so to do it all in one day, that low was pretty cool.”

The Heart of America Athletic Conference named Thompson the Men’s Golfer of the Week on Sept. 30 for his record-breaking performance

On the second day, he played with senior captain Andy Kelley, who kept him focused and calm while on the course.

“It makes it a lot easier when you get to play with someone you know,” Thompson said. “You can actually talk to them and they can encourage you if you make a bad shot or stroke or have a couple bogies here and there.”

Kelley, who had been “nipping on (Thompson’s) heels” for most of the day, finished in second place and gave Thompson a congratulatory hug after he hit his final putt.

As the two celebrated, other teammates who were watching realized Thompson just hit the winning stroke and began to applaud him.

“It was really cool to have that happen and to experience it with my teammate,” Thompson said.

Thompson led the Baker junior varsity team to a second-place finish, falling only behind the BU varsity squad.

The junior ended the first round 5-under par and the second round at par, 71, earning him a total score of 137. Compared to his performance from the week before, he was incredibly pleased with the results.

“It was shocking,” Thompson said. “I don’t think I’ve ever played that good of a round in my entire life.”

In the Wildcats’ final tournament of the season, Thompson found his way on to the varsity squad and made an immediate impact. He helped lead Baker to its second straight first-place finish at the Missouri Valley College Fall Invitational on Oct. 6.