‘You can’t imagine she’s 12 when you watch her play’: Vancouver girl is youngest to qualify for CP Women’s Open

OTTAWA-

She has been described as a “virtuoso” and, at 12, Lucy Lin is also the youngest player to qualify for the CP Women’s Open.

Lin, who earned one of four qualifying spots for the 2022 golf tournament, played his first round of 18 holes aged nine. Three years later, she is preparing for the LPGA Tour event in Ottawa.

“I’m really excited to meet all these great players from around the world and try to enjoy the experience,” Lin said in an interview with CTV News in the capital on Tuesday after qualifying.

Lin’s was in the top four qualifying scores out of 22 on Monday, meaning she will join event headliner Brooke Henderson on the course when the tournament opens on Thursday. The defending champion heading to the event is 13-time LPGA Tour winner Jin Young Ko.

Lin, a Vancouver resident, earned her spot by shooting two shots over par, just two shots behind Michelle Liu – who was previously the youngest qualifier – and Gianna Clemente, and one shot ahead of Vanessa Zhang.

In 2019, Liu secured his place in the tournament at 12 years, nine months and six days. Lin was 12 years, seven months and 12 days old on Monday.

Qualifiers Liu, Lin and Zhang, all of Vancouver, are among 18 Canadians who will compete in the CP Women’s Open.

Prior to playing at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, Lin said she tried to stay focused.

“Sometimes I get nervous, but I try to be patient,” she said.

Her strategy is to only think about her own game and how she can improve her swing. She tries not to get distracted.

Lin’s mother, Amanda, is her junior and joked that she was the secret weapon, but she said her goal for her daughter was just to have fun and experience it.

They don’t play a lot of tournaments, she said, but described her daughter as a “very natural player”.

“She’s a very sporty girl…she’s good at everything. And when she first played 18 holes with me three years ago, I could see she was a good player “said Lin’s mother.

Describing herself as a good team and good friends, she said they practice every day, but Lin balances that with school, which she does online.

Laughing, Lin said she learned from watching her mom perform and trying to “copy her.”

She said she was surprised she hit the cutoff, but also that she tried not to think about it until it was over, just focusing on her game.

What she loves most about the sport, Lin said, is “hitting every shot. The sound of hitting the ball, making contact.”

She said she dreams of becoming a professional golfer, which those who have seen her play believe is possible.

“I’m in awe of her. She’s a virtuoso – not in music, but certainly in golf,” said Michael Hurdzan, an American golf course architect who redesigned the Ottawa course. Hunt and Golf Club, decades old, where Lin played the Open.

“The wonderful thing is that it will inspire other young girls like her to give it a shot, that’s why I follow her and that’s why I’m hopeful that she will succeed.”

Coach Tristan Mullally said she also thinks she has what it takes.

“She’s a very down to earth young lady. When you talk to her you don’t imagine she’s 12, then when you watch her play she has skills and speed beyond her age,” said Mullally told CTV News on Tuesday. He is responsible for national talent identification for Golf Canada and is also part of Lin’s coaching staff.

“She’s kind of a unique place to be as good as she is for her age,” he said.

“She’s a very intelligent child, she takes information very well and is very diligent in what she does on a daily basis, so you can see how quickly she is improving.”

Mullally said he knows it can be difficult to balance school and sports at this level, but Lin’s mother treats Lin as “a child first and an athlete second” and dedicates a lot to them. of time.

He said he hoped Lin would qualify, after finishing second at a Canadian Junior Golf Association event a few weeks ago on the same course, but he knew it would depend on how she played. Monday.

“She did this to get in, she earned her spot, and it should be fun to watch,” Mullally said.

As for what’s next, he knows her aspirations to turn professional and said he’ll do whatever he can to help her get there as quickly and safely as possible.

“I think when you qualify as the youngest person to ever play the Canadian Open, it probably says a lot about you and your game. I was fortunate enough to work with Brooke (Henderson) and her family for a long time, and she’s has a lot of the same traits, so hopefully the same kind of success in the future,” he said.

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