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'You don't imagine she's 12 when you watch her play': Vancouver girl is youngest ever to qualify for CP Women's Open


She's been described as a "virtuoso," and at age 12, Lucy Lin is also the youngest player ever to qualify for the CP Women's Open.

Lin, who earned one of four qualifying spots in the 2022 golf tournament, played her first round of 18 holes when she was nine. Three years later, she's 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 Tuesday, after she'd qualified.

Lin's was among the four best qualifying scores out of 22 on Monday, meaning she'll be joining event headliner Brooke Henderson on the course when the tournament opens Thursday. The defending champion headed into the event is 13-time LPGA Tour winner Jin Young Ko.

Lin, a Vancouver resident, earned her spot 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 her spot in the tournament at 12 years, nine months and six days old. Lin was 12 years, seven months and 12 days old on Monday, meaning she broke Liu's record by less than two months.

Qualifiers Liu, Lin and Zhang, all from Vancouver, are among 18 Canadians who will be playing in the CP Women's Open.

Ahead of teeing off at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, Lin said she's trying to stay focused.

"Sometimes I get nervous but I try to stay patient," she said.

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

Lin's mother, Amanda, is her caddy, and joked that she's the secret weapon, but she said her goal for her daughter is just to have fun and take in the experience.

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 played the first time, 18 holes, with me three years ago I could see she's a good player," Lin's mother said.

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

With a laugh, Lin said she learned from watching her mother play and trying to "copy her."

She said she was surprised she made the cutoff, but also that she'd tried not to think about it until it was over, focusing only 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, something those who've seen her play believe possible.

"I'm in awe of her. She's a virtuoso – not in the music field but certainly in the golf field," said Michael Hurdzan, a U.S. golf course architect who remodeled the decades-old Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club course where Lin will play in the Open.

"The wonderful thing about it is it's going to inspire other young girls like her to give it a shot, so that's the reason I'm following her and that's why I have great hope that she will make the cut."

Coach Tristan Mullally said thinks she may have what it takes as well.

"She's a very grounded young lady. When you speak to her, you don't imagine she's 12, then when you watch her play, she's got skills and speed that's above her years," Mullally told CTV News Tuesday. He's the head of national talent identification for Golf Canada, and also a part of Lin's coaching team.

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

"She's a very smart kid, takes information on very well, and is very diligent in what she does on a daily basis, so you can see that in how fast she's improved."

Mullally said he knows there can be challenges balancing school and sports at this level, but that Lin's mother treats Lin as "a kid first and an athlete second," and dedicates a lot of time to them.

He said he'd hoped Lin would qualify, after being second at a Canadian Junior Golf Association event a couple weeks ago on the same course, but he knew that it would come down to how she played Monday.

"She did that to get in, she's earned her spot, and it should be fun to watch," Mullally said.

As for what's next, he knows about her aspirations to be a professional, and said he'll do what he can to help her get there as quickly and safely as possible.

"I think when you qualify as the youngest person ever to play in the Canadian Open, that 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 got a lot of the same traits, so hopefully the same kind of success in the future," he said. Top Stories

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