Epson Tour star wins by 4-shots for second win of the season
She first entered the collective golf consciousness when she qualified for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst as the youngest ever player to compete. The sight of a precocious eleven year old sitting in the media tent, with her ice cream cone while talking to reporters is probably the image that Lucy Li will be best remembered for – at least until she creates new ones. And that is what she seems intent on doing as she won for the second time this year at the Twin Bridges Championship in Albany, New York.
For the second time this season, Lucy Li walked away as a champion, dominating the notoriously hard Pinehaven Country Club, finishing the weekend 10-under 203.
“I feel tired and hungry, but I’m also very happy,” joked Li. “It’s definitely really exciting to get my second win here.”
After an opening round of 66 (-5 under), Li seized the lead and never looked back posting a 68 (-3 under) yesterday to get to -8 under entering the final round. After an early bogey on the par-3, 3rd hole, the 19-year old California native carded three birdies on Sunday and went bogey-free on the back nine. To keep herself focused and in the game, Li reminded herself why she loves coming out to the course each week. It’s a method that she’s implemented into her practice sessions as well.
“It’s a journey,” said Li. “And it’s different for everyone. But it’s important to boil it down to why you love playing this sport and focus more on that. I transformed my practice to focusing more on that enjoyment of the game.”
A crowd favourite all week, Li was appreciative of the support from the gallery, but she saved some special words of appreciation for those that have been with her throughout her journey.
“Having the support of family, for me was huge, I can say that they never stopped believing in me, even when at some points it feels like you stop believing in yourself.”
Before she goes home to celebrate with the rest of her family, she plans on channeling her inner child and playing some more games. “Maybe I’ll go to Dave & Buster’s – I haven’t been in so long, so maybe I’ll get to go finally. I have a ton of points I haven’t used, so I hope they don’t expire.” Dave and Buster’s is an American based restaurant chain that incorporates video game arcades into their restaurants. With the win, Li tops the Epson Tour Money List with season earnings to date of $107, 241 – practically ensuring that she will have earned her card for the 2023 LPGA Season.
In solo second place was Linnea Strom, finishing 4-shots back. The Swede shot 1-under par on the day and 6-under on the weekend. She went out in 37, 2-shots over before two birdies on the 10th and 12th holes got her back to even par for the round. She then took advantage of her length off the par-5, 17th hole for the an eagle – her second of the week – to secure her second-place finish.
“I knew Lucy was a couple shots ahead of me. In my mind I just wanted to finish solo second, which I was able to do, so I’m happy about that.”
With the finish, Strom recorded her third top-10 finish of the 2022 Epson Tour season and is second on the Ascensus Race for the Card. The Sunday gallery was also a great experience for the Swede. “It was a lot of fun, a lot of them, [the crowd], were with us from the first hole so it was amazing.”
Taking solo third, at 4-under, was Allie White, earning the Ohio native her highest finish of the season after missing eight of 10 cuts. Her final round score of 68 was eventful as she recorded 4-bogeys on the day to go along with her 7-birdies. Having battled all day to finish the round at -3 under was a performance from which she draws some confidence from. “I’ve been really struggling this season to get anything going,” said White. “This is really huge for me.”
Rounding out the top 5, were Hira Naveed and Chanoknan Angurasaranee, sharing 4th place for the week. The pair finished the week at 3-under, seven strokes behind Li.
Next up on the Epson Tour calendar is the Firekeeper’s Casino Hotel Championship in Battle Creek, Michigan with defending champion Fernanda Lira.
Top Ten – Ascensus Race for the Card