When 19-year-old South Korean prodigy Inbee Park lifted the primary of her seven main championships on the 2008 US Girls’s Open, she turned the match’s youngest ever champion.
Bella Simões wouldn’t be born for round one other six years. On Tuesday, she tried to qualify for the key.
At 9 years previous, the Brazilian is the youngest participant ever to aim qualification to the match, set to tee off at California’s acclaimed Pebble Seashore course for the primary time in its 78-year historical past in July.
Simões hit the very first shot of her qualifying group at The Membership at Mediterra in Naples, Florida. An impeccable swing method – posted to the USGA’s Twitter account – drew loads of plaudits.
But that ought to come as no shock given Simões’ already-impressive résumé. A US Children Golf World champion for the under-seven’s class in 2020, she defended her title a yr later earlier than clinching one other victory within the eight-year-olds competitors in 2022.
It’s a youth match with pedigree: World No. 7 and 2014 Chevron Championship winner Lexi Thompson was twice a champion earlier than she turned one of many recreation’s elite gamers.
Thompson turned the youngest golfer ever to qualify for the US Girls’s Open when she – at 12 years previous – made it to the 2007 version of the key.
Golf’s greatest-ever prodigies
Simões nonetheless has just a few makes an attempt left to usurp that title however should wait a minimum of one other yr after ending tied-59th within the 67-player area. The Brazilian shot 23-over par, as two gamers – Lindy Duncan and Brooke Matthews – secured automated qualification with scores of 10-under and 8-under respectively.
The USGA introduced a report variety of entries for July’s championship, with 2,107 candidates from 47 US states and 62 nations dwarfing the earlier report of 1,874 set final yr, when Minjee Lee went on to clinch victory at Pine Needles.
Gamers will need to have a handicap index of two.four or under, or be an expert, to aim qualification. A number of teams are exempt and obtain an automated invitation, together with the final 10 champions and the highest 75 gamers on this planet rankings.
Kimberly Williams, a 60-year-old professional from Bethesda, Maryland, was the oldest participant to aim qualification this yr, in line with the USGA.