Save Money in this Sunday's paper

comments

U.S. Open: N.C. parents reflect on 11-year-old Lucy Li

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/18/22/26/TLfCu.Em.138.jpeg|500
    Chuck Liddy - cliddy@newsobserver.com
    1962 U.S. Women's Open winner Murle Lindstrom watches as Nicole Bostic, 7, hits a shot during a clinic for young golf fans as part of activities Wednesday at Pinehurst.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/18/22/26/ULjqc.Em.138.jpeg|197
    Chuck Liddy - cliddy@newsobserver.com
    Three time U.S. Women's Open winner Susie Maxwell Berning instructs a young golf fan during a clinic for children as part of activities Wednesday at Pinehurst during the practice round for the 2014 U.S. Women's Open.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/18/22/30/19XdEV.Em.138.jpeg|149
    Chuck Liddy - cliddy@newsobserver.com
    Lucy Li draws a crowd as she tees off on the eighth hole at Pinehurst No. 2 during a practice round Wednesday. Li, at 11 years old, is the youngest player to ever qualify for the tournament. She played nine holes before heading in because of excessive heat.

PINEHURST Heather Byrne can only imagine what it took for 11-year-old Lucy Li’s parents to get their daughter in position to play in this week’s U.S. Women’s Open.

“I would be tired,” said Byrne, a mother of two from Whispering Pines. “(11) is young, but if they’re that good and that dedicated, you have to support them.”

Byrne was watching her daughter Kaitlyn, 8, take part in a U.S. Golf Association youth clinic at Pinehurst Resort’s driving range Wednesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, Kaitlyn and her younger brother James, 6, met Li’s caddie Bryan Bush and got to see her golf bag up close.

They are fans of the youngest player to ever qualify for a U.S. Women’s Open. That Kaitlyn is just three years away from Li’s age made Heather Byrne shake her head.

“(Li) has probably lost a lot of ‘friend’ time and maybe some extracurriculars between school and golf,” Byrne said. “She is probably very busy, just like her parents are probably very busy.”

Li’s appearance in the Open hasn’t been universally accepted by her competitors.

“I don’t know, from the parents’ side, you kind of wonder,” said Stacy Lewis, the world’s top-ranked player. “When I found out she qualified, I said, ‘Well where does she go from here? What do you do next? You qualify for an Open at 11, what do you do next?’ If it was my kid, I wouldn’t let her play in the U.S. Open qualifier at 11, but that’s just me.”

But another parent at the clinic, Raleigh’s Eric Brown, thinks Li will probably turn out fine.

Brown has seen another child prodigy up close. The Brown family is friends with the family of Reed Shannon, 13, a Raleigh actor who will play young versions of Michael Jackson, Berry Gordy and Stevie Wonder in Broadway’s first national tour of “Motown The Musical” this summer.

“So we’ve seen some of the things they’ve gone through,” said Brown, whose daughter McKinley, 9, balances golf with a love of dance. “How they arrange for school, when he gets to be around his friends. I imagine it’s rough on the child, but if you keep kids grounded, you can raise him the way you want.”

Balance is the key, Byrne said.

“(Li) is getting to experience some pretty cool things – traveling, playing golf,” she said. “Fame at an early age, some don’t turn out so well. But she has a gift. She needs to use it.”

Scott: 704-358-5889; Twitter: @davidscott14
Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases
CharlotteObserver.com