Achenbach: Caddie, Li make quick bond

Caddie Bryan Bush (left) and Lucy Li grinded their way to a 7-over 78 in the first round of the U.S. Women's Open.

PINEHURST, N.C. – Here are three things I love about the Lucy Li phenomenon:

1. This 11-year-old girl uses the exact same iron head as the 29-year-old U.S. Open champion, Martin Kaymer -- TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC (Muscle Cavity). Obviously the two golfers use different shafts.

2. She may be the only player in the field who paid for her golf equipment. All the manufacturers have verified this fact. Elite amateurs generally receive free equipment, but 11-year-old girls do not. At least not before the emergence of this prodigy.

3. Li's caddie, Bryan Bush, is available by request at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort or Maroon Creek Club in Aspen, Colo. Bush is a professional caddie who each year spends eight months in Pinehurst and four months in Aspen.

"I love it when people ask for me," Bush said. "I've got lots of stories."

Now, of course, he has even more stories.

Here's how Bush ended up with Li's bag at the Women's Open: He was caddying in Aspen when he received a phone call from Bobby Dean, a veteran Edel Golf fitter. Would he be interested in caddying for Li in the Women's Open? You bet he would.

So Bush flew back to North Carolina to meet 11-year-old Li. The two of them played five practice rounds at Pinehurst No. 2 and hit endless balls at nearby Pine Needles and Mid Pines Resorts.

"We joke a lot about Donald Ross," Bush said. "Lucy knows all about him. She has studied several different books. She is always saying, 'Oh, that Donald Ross' or "I got Rossed on that shot.' This is really a unique experience for me."

After Lucy qualified for the Women's Open, her family contacted several golf companies, seeking a caddie recommendation. Edel responded the quickest.

"When Bobby (Dean) called me, I thought, 'Hey, this might be the most fun thing I ever do on a golf course.' And that's exactly what's happening. It's a great week."

Lucy's bag says Edel on it, and she has been wearing an Edel visor. Adopting a very serious perspective, owner David Edel reflected on the Lucy Li spotlight.

"We love the publicity," Edel said, "but this is just a little kid we're talking about. The last thing in the world we want to do is take advantage of an 11-year-old golfer. It's exciting to watch her play, no matter what's in the bag."

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