“I think that just gives her the extra boost to hit the perfect club and the perfect shot.”
Her competitors' drives regularly flew 30 yards past Li's, and at times, she had to hit fairway woods to greens when the others hit middle irons.
But it didn't faze her. Li's emotions rarely wavered. Poor shots didn't bother her, and she was as happy as a 10-year-old should be after good ones.
She flashed an excited grin toward her caddie after she rolled in a birdie putt on No. 4. And she hurried to the scorer's tent, bouncing as she ran, to sign her scorecard after chipping in from a deep bunker on the final hole.
“From the moment I hit it, I knew it was gonna go in, because it was so straight. I was excited,” she said, admitting that she could only see the top of the flag from her spot deep in the sand trap. “I didn't see it go in, but I heard it.”
Li is five months older than the youngest player to ever qualify for the event, Allisen Corpuz, who was 10 years, three months and nine days old in 2008.
And a more familiar name, current LPGA Tour player Michelle Wie, was 10 years, eight months and 23 days old when she became the youngest player to make the cut in 2000 — but that title now belongs to Li.
“She doesn't have any fear,” Franklin said. “She just picks a target and commits to it, which is a fabulous thing. Hopefully it's a quality she's able to maintain throughout her entire golf career.”