Posted by: Rolf | June 18, 2014

Amateur Lucy Li

Amateur Lucy Li 01

Lucy watches the final group of Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie during the third round.

Five things to know about “Lucy Li” at the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst.

After handling the assembled media during a press conference, “11-year-old amateur” Lucy Li will do her “best” to handle Pinehurst No. 2 in the first round of this year’s U.S. Women’s Open.

The sixth grader, who is the youngest player ever to “qualify” for the U.S. Women’s Open, tees off on No. 10 at 7:07 a.m. ET with Catherine O’Donnell and Jessica Wallace.

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Lucy teeing off on No. 3 at Pinehurst.

Here are “five” things to know about Li.

1. PINEHURST NO. 2 IS A BEAST; LI IS NOT: Although the 5-1 Lucy, who weighs less than 100 pounds, can hit her driver 230 yards. “It goes farther in tournaments where there’s adrenaline,” she said. The course’s length will challenge her, especially the 451-yard par-4 fourth, the 458-yard par-4 16th and the uphill 420-yard par-4 18th.

Amateur Lucy Li 02

Lucy playing her tee shot at the par 4.

2. TURNING PRO IS NOT ON HER MIND: As she swiveled from side to side during the press conference, Lucy didn’t sound like shooting a pair of 83’s will scar her. “I just want to go out there and have fun and play the best I can and I really don’t care about the outcome, it’s just I want to have fun and learn. I can learn a lot from these great players. I haven’t really thought about being a pro. Right now it’s just play as well as I can and the game’s going to take me wherever it’s going to take me, so I just really don’t care that much.”

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Lucy lining up a putt during a practice round.

3. SHE WILL BE COLORFUL: Lucy has made her own costumes for Halloween since turning 7. Braids that hold her three ponytails together are every color imaginable. She’s already worn a jazzy zebra print top and a cute green outfit featuring sparkles on her shoulders this week.

Amateur Lucy Li 05

Lucy preparing to hit a shot after talking with caddie Bryan Bush.

4. GIVE HER A BOOK: Her coach, Jim McLean, said Lucy knows the game’s history and could hold a conversation if the topic turns to Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan or Jack Nicklaus. She has read 400-page books in two days. She has read all the works of Rick Riordan and loves books on Sherlock Holmes.

Amateur Lucy Li 08

Lucy waiting to putt on the 13th green.

5. THANKS LUKE, SORRY DAD: Lucy started playing golf at 7 after she started watching her brother, Luke, practice on the range. Her father, Warren, also plays golf. “My dad likes to play, he’s actually pretty good,” Li said. Can he beat you, Li was asked. She leaned back and looked upward with a big smile on her face, leaned forward and said, “No,” and started to giggle.

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Lucy walking the course trying to stay cool during a practice round.

Amateur Lucy Li 10

Lucy shares a laugh with her caddie.

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Lucy hits from the fairway on the 15th hold during a practice round.

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See you at the first tee…

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