Lucy Li nearly matched the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship’s 36-hole scoring record, but is hoping to settle for medalist honors for a second consecutive year instead.
Li, 15, of Redwood Shores, Calif., carded a 2-under-par 69 on Tuesday for a two-round total of 11-under 131 and the clubhouse lead by six strokes over Brooke Seay, 17, of San Diego, Calif. Yujeong Son of Norman is in fifth place alone having completed her first two rounds in 3-under after scores of 71-68.
Only half of the 156-player field completed the second and final round of stroke play due to a 4½-hour fog delay before play could begin. Play was suspended for the day due to darkness at 8:18 p.m. PDT, and will resume on Wednesday at 7 a.m. The field will then be cut to the low 64 scorers for match play.
Li, No. 9 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR), won’t have to worry about being in the draw. The only drama on Tuesday was whether she would match or break the 36-hole scoring mark held by Taylore Karle, who shot 130 in 2005 at BanBury Golf Club in Eagle, Idaho. That mark also stands as the lowest total recorded in any USGA amateur competition that features 36 holes of stroke play followed by match play.
Li’s 131 matched the total of Angel Yin in the 2014 Girls’ Junior at Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz.
For her part, Li was unaware of her flirtation with golf history.
“Nobody told me anything. Honestly, it doesn’t matter,” she said. “It’s just stroke play right now.”
Li, a member of last month’s victorious USA Curtis Cup Team, came to the 18th hole, an uphill par 5 measuring 485 yards, needing a birdie to match Karle’s record. She stuffed her 100-yard, pitching-wedge approach to 5 feet, only to slightly mishit the birdie putt. Li said her ball striking was as good as on Monday when she matched the championship’s 18-hole scoring mark with a 9-under 62.