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First Impressions: 11 Y.O. Lucy Li Is In The (Pinehurst) House

Ron Kroichick followed 11-year old Lucy Li for her first U.S. Women's Open practice round and the phenom is coming into the media center later today.

But in the meantime, his thoughts, which included this:

**Some phenoms look older than their age — Michelle Wie, for example, was always taller than most girls her age. Li, barely 5 feet tall, looks 11 at the most. She could pass for 9, with her braces and colorful pigtails.


**Li has a smooth, rhythmic swing and hits the ball fairly straight. That said, her tee shot on No. 2 was at least 40 to 50 yards behind the drives of Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Hannah Pietila, the other players in her group. This will cause problems come Thursday, because it will be difficult to control long shots into Pinehurst’s tricky greens.

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Reader Comments (17)

Probably a decent future outlook for her, but anything below 85 each day seems to be pretty unrealistic.
06.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Is no one thinking about the long term health of these young players? It may seem cool now but stressing your body to hit the ball around 6,500 yard + courses at this age. To think her parents have had her out trying since she was 9 to qualify. The USGA needs to have the same criteria for qualifying as the men and a age limit then yes we would be see Charley Hull there as we should be along with a few others and put an end to dangling a carrot out there for such young players to play in what is a Woman's Open. Li will get her chances if she is good enough when she is older and her body more mature or does nobody care until their in Tiger's condition. Look at Wie all taped up and Pettersen out for weeks that's just a couple of notable examples....
06.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterColin
One golf writer posted today that he followed Lucy Li for a few holes. He said she reached the front edge of a 470 yard par 4 in two shots. That sounds like 250 off the tee and a 200 yard 3 wood. Impressive for 99% of golfers.
06.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaveAndrews
Refereed a match in CA Women's when she was 9 or 10. Amazing, but hopefully has a very good caddy. If she does not have braces yet, brace yourself. She's good beyond her youth.
06.17.2014 | Unregistered Commentergolfdinosaurrr
This disturbs me.
06.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterV60golfrrrrr
Allow her to play if she qualifies, however, to subject her to a press conference is child abuse IMHO.
06.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterGeoffreyC
She has Jim MacLean as a swing coach. Does that not strike anyone else as strange?
06.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBDF
Yes, it strikes Leadbetter as strange
06.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenterduck!hooker
I watched her interview on the USGA website. Not worried about her. Very sharp kid.
I assume this question was about when she started....
"When I was seven, I immediately thought golf was just great because it's different from other sports. Anybody can play. How young, how tall, how short. It doesn't really matter."
She said she's a little nervous because of the crowds. Who isn't? She'll be fine.
06.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoss
I think these organizations (LPGA and PGA Tour) need to accelerate rock solid provisions to establish a minimum age requirement in their respective outfits. This is not just about how low they can score on the golf course, it is about being a participating member of the Tour - including pro ams, media obligations, and so forth. Out of all sports, golf careers are the longest -they can certainly afford to wait until 18 or some other appropriate age to become Tour members. Although I am not talking about Open qualifying /eligibility in this respect, I would absolutely support a minimum age for this as well - that is why they have "Jr" events.
06.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
100% agree with BS, I mean Brian.
06.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave N Diapers
This girl is WAY too young to competing. This is ridiculous.
06.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenterv60golfer
Yep, what BrianS said. Part of maturing and going through puberty isn't just the physical changes to your body, it's your brain too. Your brain at 11 is still developing and changing, it's not an adult brain. And if you put kids into situations where you expect them to act like adults you're asking for trouble, because they're not adults.

Sometimes it turns out fine, but look at the number of child actors in rehab to get an idea of the flip side.
06.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenterelf
What's Ty Tryon up to these days?
06.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Y playing in the US Open at 11 would be a horrible way to spend the weekend.
Maybe she should tap on an iPad all day or eat corn dogs at Disney world instead?
She's not turning pro. She qualified and she's playing. Nothing much to see here.
Now if we hear from the parents and they are goofy about her golf (I doubt it. She said she doesn't care that much about the sport) then heaven help her. Otherwise it's just a fun weekend for their family. Fun happens.
06.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoss
One other note, she does dominate her current age group, but AJGA rules wont allow her to compete at their events till she's 12. That seems silly, and essentially leaves a pro-event like the US Open as the only option (obvs there are other Am events open too, but for the most part she's shut out). Michelle Wie had the same problem at a young age. She wasn't actually allowed to play the events that developmentally would have been the most appropriate.
06.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenterelf
KLG-- "as of 2012, Ty Tryon has conditional status on the Nationwide Tour." (credit: Wikipedia)

Sad thing is this girl hits it almost as far as me.

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