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Thompson prepares to defend Dubai title

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Last year, it was a chat with the stars from the ``Twilight'' franchise. This year, it's a meeting with Tiger Woods and a role in his popular golf video game.

Life keeps getting more surreal for American teenager Lexi Thompson, who is in the United Arab Emirates to defend her title at the Dubai Ladies Masters, which begins Wednesday. She won the tournament in 2011 at 16 to become the youngest winner on the LPGA and European Tour. She then lost her LPGA record to Lydia Ko, a 15-year-old amateur from New Zealand who won the Canadian Women's Open in August.

Along with Thompson, the field includes Michelle Wie and LPGA Championship winner Shanshan Feng.

Thompson hasn't won a tournament this year, but with four top-five finishes on the LPGA Tour, her star keeps rising. With that come the perks of celebrity. She got to meet the 14-time major winner Woods this summer at the Notah Begay Challenge in August.

``It was amazing, just meeting a role model. I've always looked up to him so it was great to meet him and talk to him,'' Thompson said. ``And he said I'll play golf with you any time, and that means a lot coming from a person at that level.''

Just as ``amazing'' was being invited to play a role in the video game, ``Tiger Woods PGA 14.'' She grew up with the game and played Woods with her golf-playing brothers. Now Thompson looks forward to playing herself. It should be much like the real Thompson - she strapped on sensors on her body, head and shoes to ensure the game was as realistic as possible.

``It's an honor to be in the video game,'' Thompson said. ``I've seen some of the pictures of my animation and it looks so real. ... It will be interesting to play me in the video game. It will be pretty weird but it will be awesome.''

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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