Following in the footsteps of the precocious young players before her, Alexa Pano has punched her ticket to this year’s U.S. Women’s Open at the tender age of 14.
Though Pano is not the youngest player to ever qualify for the Women’s Open (that title belongs to Lucy Li, who played the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst at age 11), Pano will likely be the youngest competitor in the field at the Country Club of Charleston this year. Other famously young players to qualify include Morgan Pressel and Lexi Thompson. Both were 12 years old when they qualified.
The best part of Pano’s story is how the drama unfolded. According to Golfweek, a weather delay caused play to be suspended for hours on Monday. Players were sent back out for a short while before play was called for the day. Pano and her fellow competitors had to return on Tuesday to complete the second 18 of the 36-hole qualifier.
When play was complete, Pano was one shot behind medallist Delfina Acosta (+1) and tied for second with two other players. She then made a 35-foot birdie from the fringe on the second playoff hole to seal the deal and punch her ticket to the Open.
Though Pano is only 14 years old, this year marked her sixth attempt to qualify. “I’m just so excited to finally have qualified,” she told Golfweek. “It took me a while to get here.”
Pano has already had an incredible year, competing in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April, and making it to the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with partner Amari Avery last week.
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