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12-year-old set to make history at Canadian Open

Michelle Liu will compete at the event on Thursday, becoming the competition’s youngest starter.

12-year-old Canadian Michelle Liu lines up an approach shot (file pic).
12-year-old Canadian Michelle Liu lines up an approach shot (file pic).
Image: Nathan Denette

AMATEUR GOLFER MICHELLE Liu hasn’t yet hit her teens, and says it’s “crazy” to think she’ll be teeing it up on Thursday in the Canadian Women’s Open.

Liu, 12, was the low Canadian at the 2019 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship to earn an exemption into the field at this week’s tournament at Magna Golf Club near Toronto.

She’ll become the youngest to compete in the 47-year history of the event, breaking the mark set by fellow Canadian Brooke Henderson who was 14 when she made her debut in her national championship in 2012.

“I look up to Brooke Henderson, just because she’s a great player, great personality, Canadian,” Liu said Tuesday.

She met Henderson — the defending champion — on the driving range on Monday.

“I took a picture with her,” Liu said.

Asked if she was finding her first professional tournament “a bit of a crazy experience” Liu said that was “a good word for it.”

“I would say I’ve got to play with some really nice and like really good LPGA players,” she said.

“Christina Kim, M.J. (Hur), and all of them. I think I really get to learn something from them, and especially how warm and welcoming they are to me.”

Although she’s enjoying the experience of meeting players she has long admired, and signing autographs for new fans, Liu was expecting a demanding week.

I think it’s definitely going to be a challenge for me and my mental game to be able to focus and, like, keep my mind on like each and every shot,” she said.

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“I know there is a lot of great players here in the field. I think I was 95 out of the top 100 players, so I definitely say it’s going to be pretty hard.

“I hope for a lot and I expect a little bit less.”

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