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11-Year-Old Bay Area U.S. Women’s Open Qualifier Just Wants To Have Fun

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PINEHURST, N.C. (CBS SF) — The golf phenom from Redwood Shores is about to compete in this year’s U.S. Women’s Open.

At 11 years old, Lucy Li became the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open by winning the sectional qualifier at Half Moon Bay in May.

She will take on the best female golfers beginning Thursday at the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst, North Carolina.

“It’s awesome, right?” Li said at press conference Tuesday while sporting pigtails with barrettes. “Pinehurst and Augusta National in like two months, that’s just amazing, mind-blowing for me.”

Giggling in between her answers to reporters, Li said she just wants to have fun “and learn from these great players.”

Li shot rounds of 74-68 on the par-72 Old Course in May. She will surpass Lexi Thompson as the youngest qualifier in the U.S. Women’s Open, which is June 19-22 at Pinehurst No. 2. Thompson was 12 in the 2007 Open.

Li won’t be the youngest to appear at the open: Beverly Klass played the 1967 Open when she was 10. There was no qualifying back then.

Jim McLean, Li’s coach, told KCBS’ Steve Bitker that her qualifying at 11 is “incredible.”

“Lexi Thompson has the record before at 12, which I thought might never be broken, but Lucy’s done it,” he said.

Mclean said Li is remarkably poised and talented.

“She’s home-schooled on the Stanford program. She is very, very intelligent,” Mclean said.

Li already has a big win on her resume. She captured the girls 10-11 division at the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt contest at Augusta that preceded the Masters this year. She beat second-place qualifier Kathleen Scavo by seven strokes at Half Moon Bay.

“I gave her a book early on—probably when she was eight—a Dr. Seuss book called the ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go!’” Mclean said.

“If she continues on this path, she’s going to go to some phenomenal places; but I never envisioned it happening this fast. But she has a great golf swing. She’s got great fundamentals and a great work ethic.”

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