U.S. GIRLS' JUNIOR
Lucy Li Matches Championship Record With 62 in Round 1 July 15, 2018 | Pebble Beach, Calif By David Shefter, USGA

A hot putter helped propel Lucy Li to a championship-tying 62 in Monday's first round of stroke play at Poppy Hills. (USGA/JD Cuban)

70th U.S. Girls’ Junior | #USGirlsJunior
Poppy Hills Golf Course, Pebble Beach, Calif.
First Round, Stroke Play, Monday, July 16 | Par 71, 6,189 yards
Hole Locations
Championship History | Media Center

What Happened

Lucy Li, 15, of Redwood Shores, Calif., matched the U.S. Girls’ Junior 18-hole scoring record with a bogey-free, 9-under-par 62 in Monday’s first round of stroke play.

Li, who went 3-0-1 in helping the USA reclaim the Curtis Cup last month at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y., tied the mark set by fellow Northern Californian Christina Kim in 2001, and Kimberly Kim in 2007.

The 62 also was four strokes better than Yealimi Noh, 16, of Concord, Calif., and five better than Brooke Seay, 17, of San Diego, Calif.

Li, the medalist in last year’s U.S. Girls’ Junior at Boone Valley Golf Club, registered nine birdies, and her second-nine scorecard – she started on No. 10 – looked like a checkerboard with alternate white (par) and blue (birdie) boxes. On her opening nine, Li, No. 9 in the latest Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR), registered five consecutive 3s from No. 13 in shooting a 5-under 30. Her round included a 30-foot birdie on No. 8. She had a chance to break the championship record on the par-5 ninth, but she failed to convert the 25-foot birdie putt.

The 62 also matched Li’s personal-best score that she recorded last year at PGA National Resort & Spa’s Champions Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., en route to winning the American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Tournament of Champions.

“I forgot [Poppy Hills] was a par 71, otherwise I would have tried [harder] to birdie the last hole,” said Li with a hint of sarcasm. “I just played really well today, making everything, so that felt good.”

Noh, who turns 17 on July 26, is coming off a record 24-under performance last week in winning the 72-hole Girls Junior PGA Championship at Kearney Hill Links in Lexington, Ky. Three weeks ago, she bested fellow Northern Californian Madelyn Gamble in the championship match of the the 69th California Junior Girls’ State Championship at nearby Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore Course.

After a self-proclaimed poor warm-up on the practice range, Noh bogeyed the par-5 10th, her first hole of the day. But she bounced back with a birdie on the par-3 11th, hitting a knockdown 9-iron to 15 feet. She also bogeyed the par-3 sixth by three-putting from 50 feet, then answered with a 90-yard wedge approach to a foot on No. 7. She punctuated the round by converting a 21-footer on the par-5 ninth.

Seay converted a 15-foot birdie putt on her final hole, the ninth, to shoot a 67.

USGA caligrapher Kathryn Sartain posts Lucy Li's championship-tying 62 on the scoreboard at Poppy Hills. (USGA/JD Cuban)

Notable

NOTABLE

  • Defending champion Erica Shepherd, 17, of Greenwood, Ind., carded a 1-under 70.

  • Lucy Li’s 62 surpassed the women’s competitive course record by Camille Orito, who shot 66 during the 2016 Northern California Golf Association Women’s Amateur (5,947 yards). Yealimi Noh matched Orito’s score.

  • While par 5s often rank as the easiest holes, the 145-yard, par-3 second hole played the easiest on Monday, averaging 2.93 strokes. The hole location was 10 paces from the front and 7 from the right. The hardest hole in Monday’s first round was the 377-yard, par-4 14th hole (4.63).

 

Quotable

Lucy Li on her mindset after shooting a 62:

“I’ve just got to keep playing the way I’ve been playing. I’ve been playing well this whole summer, but I just haven’t been able to put it together [and win]. I did today with this round and I just hope I can keep the momentum going.”

Yealimi Noh (5-under 66) on getting the chance to play Poppy Hills in a USGA championship:

“I am super excited to be out here. This is a course that I have played a few times. Just seeing that a national championship is being held here is so cool.”

Brooke Seay (4-under 67) on her approach to the stroke-play portion of the championship:

“I honestly think stroke play is just warm up and practice for match play. You just can’t make any big mistakes during stroke play and just improve and learn a little bit about the course every day. It’s more a marathon than a sprint in this tournament and you have to conserve energy.”

Ivy Shepherd (3-under 68), of Peachtree City, Ga., on playing her final junior competition:

“It is pretty sad, honestly, but I am excited to move on to the next chapter [at Clemson University this fall]. I’m just having a good time and seeing what happens.”

Ivy Shepherd on her mindset going into Round 2 of stroke play:

“I am going to pretend I am one stroke out [of the cut] and put my foot on the pedal so I don’t get too lackadaisical.”

Gina Kim (3-under 68), of Chapel Hill, N.C., on her first-round performance:

“At the beginning it was kind of boring golf, but I stayed patient and it paid off at the end. The putts started dropping and the shots started landing closer to the hole. … I think boring golf is good golf, definitely out here on this course. It definitely has its challenges.”

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.

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