This week, the best women’s golfers in the LPGA are competing in the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst Restort in North Carolina — and that includes 11-year-old Lucy Li. The sixth grader because the youngest player ever to qualify for the tournament when she won her sectional qualifier at Half Moon Bay in May.
Lucy played her first round at the Open today. She shot a 78, and after turning in her scorecard went straight for some ice cream. ''It was a lot of fun,” Lucy said. “I kind of struggled today, but it was great. I mean, it's 8 over. It's not bad.''
Lucy hits the links for the second round of the Open tomorrow. While we wait to see how she responds to her play today, here are a few things to know about the history-making tween.
Dominating the Competition
Li is actually not the youngest person to participate in the Open. She is the youngest to qualify for the tournament. Beverly Klass made it when she was 10 years old, before the qualifying process was instituted. In her sectional qualifier at Half Moon Bay, Li won by an impressive seven strokes.
For Love of the Game
Golf was not always on Li’s radar. She really only became interested in it after watching her brother, Luke, play in high school. Li took her first swing with one of her brother’s clubs when she was 7 years old and fell in love with the sport soon after. She now trains with renowned golf instructor Jim McLean.
Luke Li was the captain of the Carlmont High School golf team, and now is a student at Princeton. With Lucy and Luke playing the same sport for the past four years, competition between the two is brewing. According to Lucy, though, it isn’t much of a rivalry. “I pretty much beat him every time,” she told the San Francisco Examiner.
Li spends the winter training with McLean, but she still makes time for her studies. She is homeschooled through an online Stanford University program. “She’s incredibly smart,” McLean told the Associated Press. “And an incredibly fast learner.”
We’ll know soon enough how much she learned from her opening round at Pinehurst!
Photo: Chuck Burton/AP Photo