How young is too young to compete on a professional level? Many people have asked themselves that question over the past couple of days. Lucy Li, just 11-years-old, looks to make the weekend cut at the U.S. Women’s Open Pinehurst No. 2. She is the youngest qualifier in U.S. Open history.
And yes she will be competing with adult golfers, not kids.
Li finished the first round at the biggest event in women’s golf with an 8-over 78. She will need a good score on Friday in order to become the youngest player to make the cut.
If she’s nervous, she doesn’t act it. Li said after her first round, while enjoying some ice cream, “It was a lot of fun. I mean, it’s 8 over. It’s not bad. But I was 7 over in three holes, so that’s 1 over in 15 holes.”
Obviously most of the attention at the tournament in North Carolina has been on Li, and she’s impressed her fellow golfers. Catherine O’Donnell who played in the same group as Li said, “She’s way better than I was expecting. I was really looking forward to it. I was interested to see how she was going to play. It was like playing with another pro. She’s a joy to play with too.”
Li seems to have a healthy attitude towards competition. She says it was her idea to play in the tournament. “I didn’t care if I qualified or not. I just wanted the experience.”
Some of the LPGA mainstays don’t think that it’s a big deal for Li to compete in the tournament, while others definitely don’t feel that it’s appropriate. Stacy Lewis, who is currently the number one ranked player in the world, didn’t turn pro until she was 22-years-old. “I’m not a big fan of it,” Lewis said of Li participating in the tournament. “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. I would like to maybe see her play some U.S. Ams, play the Pub Links and get into match play, where you have some experience. I just like to see kids learn how to win before they come get beat up out here.”
Stacy Lewis led all golfers after one round of play. However, Michelle Wie currently sits on top of the leader board.
What do you think? Is 11-years-old too young to play at the U.S. Open?
Image via YouTube Screenshot