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June 19, 2013

10-year-old makes Public Links history by qualifying for match play show

NORMAN — Annie Park and Doris Chen played early Tuesday and we’re able to enjoy the afternoon because of the way they played.

The Southern California teammates shot mirroring 68s and 36-hole 8-under par 136 totals to claim medalist honors during the stroke-play qualifying portion of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.

“I’m gonna go rest a bit, then practice and then go back and sleep,” Park said after saving par with a 15-foot putt on No. 9, her last hole of the day.

Some rest would be a good thing for both Park and Chen.

“I told my caddie when I practiced that I felt dizzy. I don't think I slept enough. I was just a little tired today,” Chen said. “But I really like the way I played today. I pulled myself together.”

Park and Chen are members of the national championship-winning Trojan golf team.

They, along with teammate Kyung Kim, comprised three of the top four stroke-play finishers. Kim, who won the 2012 WAPL at Neshanic Valley Golf Course in Neshanic Station, N.J., would be appear to be the dominant story going into today's match-play elimination matches.

Instead, they were upstaged by the smallest player in the field.

Lucy Li, 10, became the youngest player in WAPL history to advance to match play. The 4-foot-10, 80-pound sixth-grader to be is a week younger than Michelle Wie when she advanced to the match play in the 2000 event.

Li, who shot a 1-under 71 to finish the qualifier at 4 over par, flipped a lob wedge out of the right green-side bunker on No. 9 to punctuate her round with a birdie. The shot had Li sprinting to the scoring tent and into the arms of her mother and aunt.

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