Lucy Li is an American golf prodigy and one of the youngest players to ever hit the professional circuit. With a number of records under her belt at the tender age of 15. There’s no telling where her career will take her. We’re looking into her achievements so far in the world of golf and where exactly she’s headed next.
Golfer Spotlight: Lucy Li
Lucy Li is one of youngest players on golf scene, American amateur golfer that holds number of records already. Currently, she’s the youngest qualifier for the US Women’s Open and US Women’s Amateur. As well as the second youngest qualified for the US Women’s Amateur Public Links.
At just 15 years old, she’s achieved a lot already in her golf career. And is looking forward to a long career in her favorite sport. Within just a few years she’s already earned a name for herself in the US golfing scene. And has her sights set on international victories. We’re here to look back about all she’s achieved so far and learn more about the young golfing superstar.
Birth and Family Life
Lucy Li was born in Stanford California, raised by Chinese parents who from Australia to United States in 1998. Her mother, Amy Zeng is a former employee of Hewlett Packard and her father, Warren Li. A stockbroker and computer consultant from San Francisco Bay Area. Both parents have degrees in computer science with her father holding a Ph.D. as well.
Just as many great golfers before her have done. Li got involved with golf from a very young age and that’s where her passion began to grow. She was an experienced diver at the age of 4 and took lessons at Stanford University. As well as being involved in music studies and gymnastics. However, it was her love for golf that really helped to propel her skills and passion.
Early Interests in Golf
There are mixed reports about where her love for the game started. With some claiming she used to practice at Mariners Point Golf Center when she was just 5 years old. Being coached by her mother and aunt. Others state that she learned about the sport from her older brother hitting balls at the driving range when she was 7. But it seems she was much more skilled than a beginner at this stage.
When she was just 7, her parents enlisted the help of coach Jim McLean and she then moved with her aunt. So they could begin training together. From there, she spent a few years practicing before she was ready. To try her hand at a professional career and it seemed all of her hard work had paid off.
The Beginning of A Professional Career
Li has already achieved many things in her career but it all got its start. When she became the youngest match play qualifier in the US Women’s Amateur Public Links. She was just 10 years, 8 months, and 16 days old. Then making her beat Michelle Wie’s previous record by only one week.
In August 2013, she beat another record when she became the youngest US Women’s Amateur Qualifier. Beating the previous title holder Latanna Stone’s record by about one month of age. She won the Girls 10-11 age division at the 78th edition Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Which was televised on the Golf Channel.
Further Wins and Record Breaking
Li continued to break records when she became the youngest to qualify for the US Women’s Open in 2014. She also won the qualifying event by seven strokes. But there were still questions about how someone so young was able to compete in these professional stakes. By April of that year, her handicap was 1.5 which means she was better than the threshold. Therefore eligible to compete.
During the opening round of the 2014 US Women’s Open when Li was just 11 years old. She debuted a set of “blinged out” golf clubs. And made the highest score than anyone made the previous year’s cut have achieved. Sadly, on Friday she missed the cut by seven strokes and her game was over.
After this, she decided not to schedule any other major USGA events for 2014. Instead focused on playing local events that were more suited to her age. In 2015, she didn’t qualify for the US Women’s Open, but her career was far from over.
Later Career and Current Standing
In August 2016, Li shot back onto the professional scene after winning the Junior PGA Championship. As well as, joining the 2016 Junior Ryder Cup winning team. She was the only amateur to make the cut for the 2017 ANA Inspiration. And also won the PING Invitational that year and the Rolex Tournament of Champions.
This year, Li qualified for the 2018 US Women’s Open again and was once again the youngest player there. Although she didn’t win and tied for 55th place, she was only one of seven amateurs there. During the 2018 US Women’s Amateur she was co-medalist and number one seed for the match. There’s the possibility she has, even more, wins in her future on this tournament.
Work With Coach Jim McLean
Remarkable golf coach Jim Mclean is known for working with severable notable PGA and LPGA players over the years. Even those that are on the younger side. However, when Li’s mother called Jim years ago and requested that he become her coach. He turned her down as he thought she was far too young to train.
Li’s mother set up a meeting for herself and her daughter to meet McLean and Miami to show. She was made of and he instantly changed his mind. Entire family was committed to golf success and that Li was a seriously good player for her age.
Jim McLean Strategy
McLean’s strategy allow Li to play the course rather than just focusing on the range and perfecting her swings. Due to this change of focus. She’s been able to thoroughly improve her short game and perfect her ball striking ability. Something that he’s never seen in a golfer her age or anywhere near it.
In addition to McLean’s worry about working with someone too young. There are reports that Lucy’s mother and father had pushed her into competitive golf. However, according to witness reports on the green. It was Lucy who would throw a tantrum when it was time to leave. As she wanted to spend many more hours practicing her favorite sport.
Fun Facts About Lucy Li
Lucy Li has already experienced so much success at such an early age. But there’s still a lot we don’t know about the golfing champion. Here are some fun facts about the Californian local that might interest you.
- Lucy isn’t the only one with a love for sports in the family. Not only is her brother a golfer, but her mother is apparently a national level champion at ping pong.
- Lucy was born in the US and currently holds a national passport which means she’s able to play for the country. However, her mother Amy Zeng is of Hong Kong nationality and would prefer her daughter play for that country instead.
- The golf prodigy broke records previously set by Lexi Thompson and Morgan Pressel who also qualified for the US Open. Since then the two have gone on to win Majors, hopefully signaling big things for Li as well.
- She claims that while waiting for her brother to finish playing gold one day she picked up his clubs. “We were on the driving range waiting for Luke. And I just started hitting. I liked it.”
- When not winning on the golf course, Lucy is just like a regular teenage girl. She likes Imagine Dragons, loves hip-hop music, and her favorite food is Chinese and French fries.
- She attends a specialist golf school, the Jim McLean Golf School, and her favorite subject is history.
The Start of An Amazing Career
Being such a prestigious and record-breaking player at this young age signals an exciting career for Lucy Li. With so many records behind her and plans to break even more. We’re all interested to see where she will take things to next.
Although there have been speculations that she was pushed into the sport. Her parents or forced to train more than she wanted to. It’s clear that Lucy has a real passion and drive for success in golf. At just 15 years of age, there’s no telling what else she’ll be able to achieve and a hopeful international career. On the horizon for the Californian prodigy.