17-year-old Lucy Li turns professional

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

17-year-old Lucy Li turns professional

LPGA Tour

17-year-old Lucy Li turns professional

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Lucy Li has turned professional.

A family member confirmed that Li informed the USGA of her decision to turn pro and will be playing the Symetra Tour next year, but the 17-year-old has no detailed plan yet.

The family member also told Golfweek in an email that the USGA invited Li to the 2020 Curtis Cup, but she passed the opportunity on to the next person.

The San Francisco Chronicle first reported that Li informed the USGA and World Amateur Golf Ranking of her decision to join the play-for-pay ranks. Li burst onto the national stage at age 11 when she qualified for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst.

The golf world won’t soon forget her snacking on ice cream during a post-round press conference at No. 2.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the World Amateur Golf Ranking web site includes Li on its list of Players Turned Pro.

Li recently completed Stage 2 of LPGA Q-School, which gave her full status for next year’s Symetra Tour season. The age requirement for the developmental tour is younger than that of the LPGA (18). Li did not petition the LPGA head of Q-School to attend Q-Series should she have qualified.

Earlier this year Li was investigated by the USGA after appearing in an Apple Watch “Close Your Rings” advertising campaign.

The USGA ultimately decided that Li did breach Rule 6-2 but allowed her to keep her amateur status. The organization instead gave Li a one-time warning, which the USGA said is consistent with its general practice for players who unknowingly break Rule 6-2 for the first time and take appropriate remedial measures.

Rule 6-2 states that “an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation must not use that skill or reputation to obtain payment, compensation, personal benefit or any financial gain, directly or indirectly, for (i) promoting, advertising or selling anything, or (ii) allowing his name or likeness to be used by a third party for the promotion, advertisement or sale of anything.”

Li, who has consistently ranked among the top amateurs in the world, is a veteran of U.S. team competition, having competed on victorious teams in the Junior Ryder Cup, Curtis Cup and Junior Solheim Cup. She first qualified for a USGA event, the now defunct U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, at 10 years, 8 months, 16 days.

She earned low amateur honors at the 2017 ANA Inspiration and made the cut at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open. Li fell to top-ranked Andrea Lee in the quarterfinals of this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur.

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