At 11-years-old, Lucy Li is the youngest golfer to qualify for the US Women's Open
At the age of 11, Lucy Li has become the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open, the biggest championship in women's golf. She's already broken other astounding records too, but even more surprising is how she decided to play golf in the first place.
This is how she described why she started playing golf: "We were on the driving range waiting for Luke. And I just started hitting. I liked it." She was only 7 at the time. Her older brother, Luke, is now a college student.
Until she showed an interest in golf, Lucy had been a diver (at 4) and a gymnast. Her golf instructor, Jim McLean, was initially skeptical about the youngster but has since come to admire Lucy's 'amazing focus,' and credits it for helping the barely 5-feet tall girl compete against bigger and more experienced players.
In 2013, when she was 10, she became the youngest player to advance to match play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, and the youngest to compete in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, but narrowly missed the cut. She also placed 17th at the Junior Orange Bowl International Championship and 18th in qualifying for the Women's Open.
On Monday, May 19, the little girl from Redwood Shores, California shot rounds of 74 and 68 on the Old Course at Half Moon Bay to earn medalist honors in sectional, qualifying for the most prestigious tournament in the women's game. Coach McLean is very surprised but said, "Lucy has the perfect personality for golf. She can keep it together better than any kid I've ever seen."
Lucy will not be the youngest player to compete in the U.S. Women's Open. Beverly Klass was 10 when she played in the 1967 Open, 9 years before sectional qualifying was introduced.
She has a bright future in front of her. That future could also include playing for the USA or for Hong Kong, as her mother, Amy Zeng, holds a Hong Kong identity card, and she has said that she wants Lucy to play for Hong Kong.
Until then, we can watch Lucy swing her clubs at this year's U.S. Women's Open on June 19-22 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.