Nearly year after amateur-status controversy, 17-year-old phenom Lucy Li turns pro

November 7, 2019
Lucy Li waves to the gallery at the 2014 U.S. Women's Open at Pinehurst, which Li was competing in as an 11 year old.

Once a child prodigy, then a teen phenom, now a pro golfer. Lucy Li made it official on Tuesday, turning pro after a amateur career filled of high-profile starts and even a little controversy.

The news was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, which said a USGA spokesperson said Li told the organization of her decision on Tuesday.

Li, now 17, famously played in the U.S. Women’s Open at age 11. She’s been ranked as high as 3rd in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and was 5th in the most recent ranking.

Li recently played in the second stage of LPGA Qualifying School and tied for 72nd, which secured her Symetra Tour card for next season. But even if she would have advanced to the final stage she wouldn’t have been able to play full time on the LPGA next season. The LPGA has a rule that states its members must be 18 years old. Li turned 17 on Oct. 1, but she still can earn her LPGA card for 2021.

While Li has a lengthy list of accomplishments on her resume, one of her most recent headlines came due to a controversy surrounding her amateur status. Earlier this year she appeared in a commercial for the Apple Watch, but the USGA investigated the matter and handed her a one-time warning.