Yamaguchi youngest competitor at U.S. Women’s Open

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Japan’s Suzuka Yamaguchi will tee it up as the youngest competitor in this week’s U.S. Women’s Open.

At nearly 15 years old, Yamaguchi almost seems too old to be the youngest player in a U.S. Women’s Open field. She will be 14 years, 11 months and 10 days old when she tees it up in the first round Thursday at Lancaster Country Club, 80 miles west of Philadelphia.

In case you’re wondering, Lucy Li didn’t qualify for this year’s championship. Li became the youngest player to qualify for a U.S. Women’s Open last year when she teed it up at 11 years, 8 months and 19 days old at Pinehurst. Li came up six strokes short of making it through the sectional qualifier this year at Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills, Calif.

Yamaguchi is among 30 teenagers in this year’s field and among 25 amateurs. She was one of six players to make it through the sectional qualifier at Hyogo Pref, Japan, last month. The average age of players competing in the U.S. Women’s Open this year is 25.

England’s Laura Davies, the 1987 U.S. Women’s Open champion, is the oldest competitor in the field at 51. She’ll be making her 27th appearance. Juli Inkster, 54, will be on the Fox team broadcasting the event. Inkster made the cut last year in her record 35th U.S. Women’s Open appearance. She announced last year that she was likely making her final appearance in the event.

This week’s field of 156 includes 95 exempt players and 10 past champions. The USGA accepted a record 1,873 entries this year with qualifying at 25 sites around the world in May and June.