11 Year Old Lucy Li Makes a Splash at US Women's Open

Pinehurst, NC - For the first time in USGA history, 11 year old Lucy Li is the youngest qualifier to participate in the US Women's Open at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club from June 19-22nd.  The Bay area native shot a 68 in the sectional to beat her competitors by 7 strokes at Half Moon Bay last month. With a teeth full of braces and pigtails, this young women is proving her talent has no age requirement. “Look, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough — or young enough, whichever way you look at it,” says Laura Davies, LPGA member and US Women's Open winner in 1987. “If you can play the golf and you can qualify, then have a go. What’s the worst that can happen? She shoots a million this week and everyone says, ‘Wasn’t it great she was here?’ So I don’t think anything bad can come out of it because she’s too young to worry about the pressure. She’s just having fun. She’s got a week off school. It’s perfect.”

Others don't share the enthusiasm for such a young golfer on the course at Pinehurst No. 2. “I saw her on the range this morning for the first time and didn’t really watch her hit any balls — just how little she was, and the pigtails kind of caught me off guard,” Stacy Lewis, the LPGA's top ranked women's player said. “But I’m not a big fan of it. She qualified, so we can’t say anything about that. You qualify for an Open, it’s a great thing. I just like to see kids be successful at every level before they come out here.  When I found out she qualified, I said, ‘Well, where does she go from here? What do you next?’ I don’t know. If it was my kid, I wouldn’t let her play in the U.S. Open qualifier at 11. But that’s just me.”

There’s something about U.S. Women’s Open in the North Carolina sandhills that attracts all the kids.

Morgan Pressel qualified when she was 12 and had just turned 13 when the Women’s Open was down the street at Pine Needles in 2001 (Li wasn’t even born then). Lexi Thompson qualified and played at 12 when it returned to Pine Needles in 2007. Li joins the ranks of young qualifiers and adds to several recent accomplishment for this young and upcoming golfer. Last year, Li played in the U.S. Women’s Amateur at 10. She was the youngest to qualify for match play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links and won the Girls (age 10-11) Drive, Chip and Putt Championship. The idea to try to qualify for the Women’s Open was “mine.”

“Because I wanted to go out there and get the experience,” she said. “Because it’s 36 holes and I didn’t care if I qualified or not. I didn’t think about it. I just wanted to go for the experience....I just want to go out there and have fun and play the best I can, and I really don’t care about the outcome,” Li said. “I want to have fun and learn. I want to learn a lot from these great players.”

Lucy Li and her follow US Women's Open competitors will take the field at Pinehurst No. 2 on Thursday, June 19th at 6:45am ET with Li's group teeing of at 7:07am ET and the tournament will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 3pm ET on Thursday and Friday, NBC at 3pm ET on Saturday and Sunday.

Pertinent Video Links:

Wednesday's Lucy Li press conference:

Early first round footage of Lucy Li and young fan reaction:

Morgan Pressel reaction to the news of an 11 year old qualifying:

The early years:

USGA Photo Image Requests:

Related Links:

US Women's Open Media Guide:


US Women's Open, Lucy Li, Pinehurst, amateur, golf, LPGA, 11 year old golfer

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