Skip to comments.11-year-old Lucy Li's appearance in U.S. Women's Open draws mixed reactions
Posted on 06/18/2014 6:26:23 PM PDT by FlJoePa
PINEHURST - While her caddie finished scribbling notes before she could tee off on Pinehurst No.2's 15th hole Tuesday during a practice round, Lucy Li plopped down in the shade next to the tee box.
Li could have been any 11-year-old then, sitting cross-legged in the shade with her polkadot skirt, sequined-sleeved top and pigtails.
But when she stood up and drilled a tee shot 150 yards to stick the ball on the par-3 hole's green, it was obvious that Li is no ordinary tween.
The Red Shores, California, native is the youngest U.S. Open Women's qualifier in history, shooting 74-68 in a 36-hole sectional qualifier at the par-72 Old Course at Half Moon Bay in San Francisco.
Li's historic feat has attracted the attention of golf fans, media and fellow players.
But Li said the attention isn't a burden and might even be a boost come Thursday's opening round.
"I like crowds," Li said. "They don't bother me. I play better, the more people that come watch me."
Li breaks the age mark set by Lexi Thompson, who was 12 when she played in the U.S. Women's Open at Pine Needles in 2007. Thompson was then months younger than Morgan Pressel, who was 12 when she qualified for the Open in 2001, which also was at Pine Needles.
Thompson and Pressel, now 19 and 26, respectively, both are in this year's 156-player field.
More than 20 teenagers are expected to tee off in the tournament's opening round, including Thompson, LPGA Rookie of the Year Moriya Jutanugarn, 19, and 17-year-old Lydia Ko, who already has three LPGA Tour wins.
Li is one of 26 amateurs in the field.
Li's entry in the Open has been met with mixed reactions from her fellow competitors.
Michelle Wie was 10 years old when she became the youngest qualifier for a USGA women's amateur competition, the 2000 U.S. Women's Amateur Public links.
Wie said Tuesday that she's excited for Li.
"Go out here, try to learn as much as you can." Wie said. "Go up to any pro. We're not scary. We won't bite. Just ask us anything."
No. 1 player Stacy Lewis said she "isn't a fan" of such young players in the Open field, despite Li's earning a spot through qualifying.
"I like to see kids be successful at every level before they come out here," Lewis said. "I would like to maybe see her play some U.S. Ams, play the Pub Links and get into match play, where you have some experience. I just like to see kids learn how to win before they come get beat up out here."
Li said she has no expectations for her play during the tournament, and is instead focusing on learning and having fun.
"I just want to go out there and have fun and play the best I can, and I don't really care about the outcome," Li said. "I can learn a lot from these great players."
Wow I really need glasses. I thought it said Lucy Lu. (Hope that is not racist)
If she can hang on to that attitude, she'll go far.
Well, Lucy Lu was 11-years old once. I like her better all grown up though.
Yeah, I read it the same way, too. :-0
I like Lucy Lu as well. However, when it comes to the Charlie’s Angels franchise, my heart belongs to Cheryl Ladd. Oh...and Jaclyn Smith. Just sayin’...
I agree. That’s what makes the “Open” the “Open”....Stacy Lewis needs to put a sock in it. She’s a talented golfer on a tour that is teetering on extinction. You’d think she’d be smarter (from a financial standpoint).
I used to work in the Redwood Shores area near Redwood City. Is that what this is supposed to say?
I hope that this works out better than it did for the young female tennis player a generation back. While some succeeded, others burned out way too early.
Also, Bollettieri's camp - which is what you are referring to, has morphed into IMG Acaemy in Bradenton. IMG is a full blown private school w/ excellent teachers [classroom].
They also produce athletes. David Leadbetter [golf] is based there, and Chris Weinke is the freaking HS Football Coach.
PSU's backup QB [behind Hackenberg] is an IMG product - Michael O'Connor.
One last thing. Let's not forget that Bollettieri blessed us with Anna:
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