In less than 24 hours, 11-year-old Lucy Li will tee off at Pinehurst No. 2, making history as the youngest golfer to play in the U.S. Women's Open.
Her debut is generating mixed reactions among LPGA veterans.
"I'm not a big fan of it," No. 1-ranked Stacy Lewis, 29, told reporters this week, adding: "I just like to see kids learn how to win before they come get beat up out here."
If anyone can relate to Li, it would be Michelle Wie, who burst onto the golf scene as a young phenom and played in her first LPGA event at age 12. She ran into the Northern California girl over the weekend.
"I'm just so excited for her," Wie, 24, said. "She looks so darn cute, like, I was like, I don't think I looked that cute when I was 11."
Women's golf is no stranger to youth. Lexi Thompson played the Open at 12 and Morgan Pressel was 13 when she made her debut in the national championship.
Li earned her way into the field through a sectional tournament in California last month. She is scheduled for a 7:07 a.m. EST start.
"If you can play the golf and you can qualify, then have a go," said Laura Davies, who will make her 26th Open appearance this week. "What's the worst that can happen?"Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times