Lucy Li may be the youngest golfer to qualify for a U.S. Women’s Open, but the 11-year-old is an old fogey compared to the youngest ever to play in the event, 10-year-old Beverly Klass.
Li, on the strength of rounds of 2-over 74 and 68 on Half Moon Bay’s Old Course on Monday, won the sectional qualifier by seven strokes to earn a spot at Pinehurst starting June 19. The Redwood Shores, Calif., resident ousted the previously youngest Open qualifier, Lexi Thompson (now the second-youngest winner after Lydia Ko of an LPGA contest), from the record books and earned her Open spot after placing first in her age group at the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National in April.
Li, like Thompson and other phenoms before her, is no stranger to the winner’s circle, as the student of renowned instructor Jim McLean has been competing and hoisting the hardware for years.
Check out the swing of 8-year-old Li in this recording from McLean, who termed it "one of the incredible videos you’ve ever seen in golf ... Unbelievable." If not, it's right up there.
Klass, those of a certain vintage will recall, survived an abusive father, who forced her in 1967 to turn professional at the age of 10. Though she made the cut in three of four events, Sports Illustrated called her the LPGA’s "knotty little problem," and the tour subsequently prohibited her from playing and established its current minimum age requirement of 18.