OAKLAND, Calif. (July 7, 2013) -- You've got to love golf as a sport where a 10 year old can play on a level playing field with someone in their 50s or 60s.
On Thursday, July 11, Lucy Li of Redwood Shores will play Sequoyah Country Club and attempt to be the second 10 year old in as many years to qualify for the U.S. Women's Amateur.
Also in the field?
2012 U.S. Curtis Cup Captain Pat Cornett, a Bay Area legend who played in both the 1978 and 1988 Curtis Cups herself and more than 50 USGA events, including eight U.S. Women's Opens. It wouldn't be polite to give her age, but Cornett played in the US Senior Women's Amateur in 2009 so you can put the age difference between her and Li in the 50 year range.
And, by the way, we don't even know if Ms. Cornett is the oldest player in the field.
Another talented player who will tackle Sequoyah on Thursday is Casie Cathrea of Livermore, fresh off a victory in the Women's Porter Cup in New York, and low amateur honors at the US Women's Open at Sebonack on Long Island, where she matched the day's lowest round on Sunday, a 70. The Oklahoma State player is likely the favorite in the qualifier, if not one of the favorites to advance a long way in the tournament itself, which will be played at The Country Club of Charleston (SC) on August 5-11.
One thing's for certain, Li isn't just there for the experience. In June, she made history by becoming the youngest player ever to advance to the match-play portion of the USGA Public Links at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Oklahoma.
Li finished 36 holes of stroke play tied for 25th, easily advancing to the match play segment. (She got knocked out in the first round by Ember Schuldt of Illinois, 3 & 2.)
At 10 years, 8 months and 16 days old, she was the second-youngest to ever participate in the event, behind only Allisen Corpuz who teed it up in the 2008 edition of the WAPL at age 10 years, 3 months and 9 days.
Li is just over 80 pounds and her drives don't travel more than 220 yards on average, so Sequoyah Country Club (read review and playing guide) -- known to women who play it as a tough course where the ladies tees don't provide a huge break in yardage -- will provide her with a stern test.
That said, she's going to have Sequoyah member Bart Goldie on the bag which will provide a competitive edge at a course where local knowledge means everything. (Doesn't it always?)
Last year, the USGA staged men's Mid-Amateur qualifying at Sequoyah.