July 16, 2018
Lucy Li shoots 62, ties U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship record
July 16-21, 2018, Poppy Hills Golf Course, Pebble Beach, Calif.
By Ian Dahl
When Lucy Li walked in her 15-foot birdie putt on her fifteenth hole (No. 6), it was not because she knew it was going in the hole, it was much more practical.
“I walked it in because we were behind on time, so I was trying to hurry up,” said Li after her round.
Nevertheless, the 15-year old from Redwood Shores confidently set her own pace on Monday during round one of the U.S Girls’ Junior Championship, opening with a 9-under par 62, which broke the women’s competitive course record at Poppy Hills, and tied the championship record, previously set by Christina Kim in 2001 and Kimberly Kim in 2007.
Not to be outdone by fellow Northern California resident Yealimi Noh, who shot a five-under par 66 in the morning wave, Li came out firing with an opening nine of 5-under par 30 starting on the back nine to tie the lead. A near ace on her eleventh hole (No. 2) gave her the lead outright, and she never looked back on her way to a four stroke advantage over the field.
“I just played really well today, making everything on the greens, so that felt good,” said Li after her round.
Currently ranked number 9 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, Li’s opening round included nine birdies and no bogeys, capped off by a 35-foot birdie putt on her seventeenth hole of the day.
Li is no stranger to success in the stroke play portion of this championship. In 2017 at Boone Valley Golf Club, she shot rounds of 71-66 to earn medalist honors. Once again, Li feels like her game is in great shape heading into match play.
“It would be great to be medalist again, but this is a match play tournament so medalist isn’t the end goal” said Li.
The 62 also matches Li’s personal competitive record. She previously shot 62 in the 2017 AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions, which she went on to win by five strokes.
“This course is pretty tough. I obviously hit it really well today, that was the key. But I also putted really well. I haven’t putted this well since I shot 62 last year.”
Although Li has only played the renovated Poppy Hills a couple of times, she felt right at home with the cool temperatures and tree-lined fairways. As she mentioned, “I love playing these type of courses and was really excited to have a championship in Northern California.”
Li tees off in the second round of stroke play Tuesday at 8:39 a.m. Make sure to keep an eye on the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship leaderboard for live scoring throughout the day.