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

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

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

“I’m very 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 was in the top four qualifying scores of 22 on Monday, meaning she will join event headliner Brooke Henderson on the field when the tournament kicks off on Thursday. The defending champion heading into the event is 13-time LPGA Tour winner Jin Young Ko.

Vancouver resident Lin earned her spot by shooting two 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 earned his place in the tournament at 12 years, nine months and six days old. Lin turned 12 years, seven months and 12 days old on Monday.

Qualifiers Liu, Lin and Zhang, all from Vancouver, are among the 18 Canadians who will play at the CP Women’s Open.

Before playing at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, Lin said she is trying to stay focused.

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

His strategy is to think only about his own game and how he can improve his swing. She tries not to get distracted.

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

They don’t play many 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 played the first time, 18 holes, with me three years ago, I could see that she’s a good player,” Lin’s mother said.

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

With a smile, Lin said she learned from watching her mother play and trying to “copy” her.

She said she was surprised she made the cut, but also that she had tried not to think about it until she was done, focusing only on her game.

His favorite thing about the game, Lin said, is “taking every shot. The sound of hitting the ball, making contact.”

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

“I’m in awe of her. She’s a virtuoso, not in the field of music, but certainly in the field of golf,” said Michael Hurdzan, a US golf course architect playing in the Open.

“The wonderful thing about this is that it’s going to inspire other young girls like her to try it, which is why I’m following her and why I have high hopes that she’ll make the cut.”

Trainer Tristan Mullally said he thinks she, too, may have what it takes.

“She’s a very focused young lady. When you talk to her, you don’t imagine she’s 12 years old, then when you see her play, she has skills and speed that is beyond her years,” Mullally told CTV News on Tuesday. She is Golf Canada’s head of national talent identification and is also part of Lin’s coaching team.

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

“She’s a very smart girl, she takes information very well and she’s very diligent in what she does on a daily basis, so you can see how quickly she’s improved.”

Mullally said she knows there can be challenges balancing school and sports at this level, but Lin’s mother treats Lin like “a kid first and an athlete second” and spends a lot of time with them.

He said he hoped Lin would qualify, after placing second in a Canadian Junior Golf Association event a couple of weeks ago on the same course, but knew it would all come down to how she played on Monday.

“She did that 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 go pro 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 play at the Canadian Open, that probably says a lot about you and your game. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Brooke (Henderson) and her family for a long time, and she’s got a lot of of the same characteristics, so hopefully the same kind of success in the future,” he said.

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