Tweens prove golf has no age limits Lucy Li has become the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open
Tweens prove golf has no age limits
Lexile

An 11-year-old girl has played her way into the U.S. Women's Open next month at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. She will compete against the best players in the country and around the world.

Lucy Li, a sixth-grader with braces, made history Monday. She shot rounds of 74-68 to become the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open. Not only did she earn a spot at the biggest event in women's golf, she won the 36-hole qualifier by seven shots.

The record for youngest qualifier had belonged to Lexi Thompson. She was 12 when she made it to the 2007 Women's Open. Li, from the suburbs south of San Francisco, still won't be the youngest player. Beverly Klass was 10 when she played in 1967. But that was when the U.S. Women's Open didn't have qualifying.

Top professional Judy Rankin was a 14-year-old prodigy from Missouri. She entered the 1959 U.S. Women's Open in Pittsburgh.

"When I went to register, they asked me if I was registering for my mother," Rankin said. "I weighed 80 pounds. I remember the first tee was way up high. I was shaking. I was so scared, so nervous. I thought I could fall off. I didn't even make the cut. I was probably ill-prepared to be playing. But the next year, I was low amateur."

Teenagers in the U.S. Women's Open are nothing new. Morgan Pressel qualified for the U.S. Women's Open in 2001 when she 12. Michelle Wie was 12 when she qualified for her first LPGA Tour event.

Lydia Ko was 15 when she won the Canadian Women's Open two years ago. That made her the youngest winner in LPGA history. Now she's in range of becoming No. 1 in the world.

In men's golf, Matteo Manassero won twice on the European Tour before he had his driver's license. Ryo Ishikawa won his first professional tournament when he was 15. Jordan Spieth nearly won the Masters last month at age 20. And Guan Tianlang, a 14-year-old from China, made the cut at the Masters last year.

Even so, two numbers are enough to get anyone's attention "11" and "sixth grade."

Li began playing when she was 7. She would whack a few golf balls on the range while waiting for her brother and cousin to finish a tournament. Last year, Li set a record in the U.S. Women's Amateur as the youngest qualifier at age 10. She also was the youngest in the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links to reach match play, losing in the first round to a college player.

Critical thinking challenge: What do all these young players have in common? When did they start playing?

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COMMENTS (65)
  • jh09013smiles
    5/22/2014 - 08:41 a.m.

    That's rea;;y cool. 12 year olds playiing golf. I triend golf when I was little but didn't like it very much because I don't have the patients. But this shows that anyone can do golf, anyone.

    • alisalane
      5/22/2014 - 10:59 a.m.

      this is cool that they dont have an age for teens to play golf and its cool to have things to do on the side instead of being home watching tv teens are out playing golf how cool is that,

  • BT16marie
    5/22/2014 - 08:49 a.m.

    This is really impressive. Especially since shes only eleven and allowed to qualify for the U.S women's open. I would be so scared because all the pressure on me, i wouldn't have the guts to do what she's doing.

  • alyxza1
    5/22/2014 - 10:15 a.m.

    Amazing! Who wouldn't want to watch an twelve year old play golf ball. It would be really awesome if she won too. I think she will attract younger people and make them want to play golf too.

  • superman.nation.4life
    5/22/2014 - 10:18 a.m.

    what they had in common was a teen with a dream to achieve. And that they just started and weren't the best but still tried there best.

  • lanaijahstewart
    5/22/2014 - 10:35 a.m.

    This proves that anyone can do anything. No matter your size, age or skill. Anyone is capable of anything if they put their heart to it and believe that they can. Anything is possible for anyone you just have to give it you all and at least try to achieve. Never give up. Follow your heart. Kep up the good work and you will accomplish what you want to accomplish.

  • dante lewis
    5/22/2014 - 10:55 a.m.

    When I went to register, they asked me if I was registering for my mother," Rankin said. "I weighed 80 pounds. I remember the first tee was way up high. I was shaking. I was so scared, so nervous. I thought I could fall off. I didn't even make the cut. I was probably ill-prepared to be playing. But the next year, I was low amateur.this is one smart girl to show her appreciation for golf.

  • shymel1155213
    5/22/2014 - 10:56 a.m.

    This is really impressive. Especially since shes only eleven and allowed to qualify for the U.S women's open. I would be so scared because all the pressure on me, i wouldn't have the guts to do what she's doing i dint know how she can do that and say they ask us golf question like if it go out of bounds what do we do and we be sitting there looking stud

  • isaiah12321
    5/22/2014 - 10:58 a.m.

    An 11-year-old girl has played her way into the U.S. Women's Open next month at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. She will compete against the best players in the country and around the world.
    Lucy Li, a sixth-grader with braces, made history Monday. She shot rounds of 74-68 to become the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open. Not only did she earn a spot at the biggest event in women's golf, she won the 36-hole qualifier by seven shots.
    Tweens prove golf has no age limits

  • senea0627
    5/22/2014 - 11:30 a.m.

    That is soooo good that she can play and hit the golf balls. I might register so i can be like her and be good at it for once!!!!!!

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