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Li, 17, among early strong starts at second stage of LPGA Q-School

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Lucy Li was among amateurs making strong starts Monday at LPGA Q-School’s second stage event at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice, Fla.

Li, who just turned 17 on Oct. 1, opened with a 3-under 69, good for a tie for 17th, five shots behind Germany’s Olivia Cowan, a Ladies European Tour member. Min A. Yoon, a 16-year-old amateur from South Korea, opened with a 65 and sits one shot back.

A minimum of the top 30 and ties will advance to the Q-Series finale later this month, with the possibility up to 48 players advancing, though Li and Yoon won’t be among them, no matter how well they play this week. At 17, Li isn’t old enough to advance to Q-Series, by tour rules, nor is Yoon, though they will be eligible to play the Symetra Tour by finishing the 72-hole no-cut event.

Li, of Redwood Shores, Calif., has told LPGA officials she wants to play the Symetra Tour next year, but she isn’t sure yet when she will officially turn pro.

“I’m excited to be playing here and really looking forward to the Symetra Tour next year, then hopefully take that jump to the next level,” Li told LPGA media.

Li became the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open when she was 11. She won the Girls’ Junior PGA Championship when she was 13 and was low amateur at the ANA Inspiration when she was 14. She was co-medalist at the U.S. Women’s Amateur when she was 15. Li ran into some issues earlier this year after appearing in an Apple Watch advertisement, with the USGA ruling she violated its amateur status rules. Li retained her status with the USGA issuing her a “one-time warning.”

Amateur Albane Valenzuela, a Stanford standout who is No. 3 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, also got off to a strong start opening with a 69. She is tied for 17th.