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Lucy Li, the now 16-year-old golf prodigy out of Redwood Shores, is proving why she in one of the best amateur players in the world.

After barely making the cut, she is now into the round of 32 at the U.S. Women’s Amateur championship at Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Mississippi.

And she appears to be getting stronger. Despite earning the No. 58 seed for the match-play portion of the tournament, she routed seventh-seeded Morgan Baxendale 5 and 4 in the round-of-64.

In match play, the players play against themselves, not the course or the hole. To win a hole, one need only beat their opponent by a stroke on that particular hole, regardless of par.

Against Baxendale, Li needed only 14 holes to take a five-hole lead, meaning the final four holes did not have to be played.

If it was stroke play, Li would have been at 1-under through 14 holes, with birdies at the par-4 first, the par-3 seventh and the par-5 10th.

Li advances to the round-of-32 today when she faces No. 39 Amanda Doherty from Brookhaven, Georgia.

Li seems to be getting better as the week advanced. She got out of the gate slowly, shooting a 2-over 74 in the first round of stroke play, sticking her in 54th-place in the 156-person field. Li rebounded a bit on Day 2, finishing with a 1-over 73 to finish with a two-day total of 3-over 147, which was good for an 11-way tie for 54th place — the final spot to make the cut.

Last year in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, Li was co-medalist after the stroke play portion of the tournament and was the No. 1 seed in match play. She lost to eventual champion Kristen Gillman in the quarterfinals, losing on the 19th hole — the first playoff hole.

Li first came to prominence as an 11-year-old when she won her age group for the first ever drive, pitch and putt championship at Augusta National Golf Club in 2014. Later that year, she became the youngest person to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open.

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Notre Dame-Belmont announced the hiring of three new coaches for the upcoming 2019-20 athletic year and Peninsula and Tiger fans will be familiar with each.

Kristi Rossi was named the school’s new cross country coach, while Wendy Connolly will take over the Tigers’ swim program.

The biggest announcement, however, was the hiring of Kelly McDonald to take over the school’s softball program.

“It is exciting to have Kelly back here at NDB,” athletic director Jason Levine said in a press release. “Kelly was a fantastic part of our softball program during her time at NDB and her teams were some of the best in Northern California.”

McDonald, a 2008 Notre Dame-Belmont graduate, spent last season as head coach for Hillsdale, taking over that program when fellow NDB alum Maia Monchek, who was groomed to replace the retired Randy Metheany, took a job out of state.

In her one year at Hillsdale, McDonald led the team to a 17-8 record and a spot in the Central Coast Section Division II championship game.

“Notre Dame gave me the best four years, on and off the softball field,” McDonald said in the press release. “To be given the opportunity to come back and impact the next generation is an honor and I cannot wait to be involved in the NDB community again.”

McDonald is replacing Tara Straube, who in seven seasons compiled an overall record of 120-73 and a league record, between the West Catholic and West Bay athletic leagues, of 58-27.

Both Rossi and Connolly also have ties to the Peninsula. Rossi was an assistant cross country coach at Crocker Middle School in Hillsborough and director of lessons and operations with the Burlingame Aquatic Club.

Although she is a Southern California native, Connolly is embarking on her second year as a social science teacher at NDB. She opened the swim program at the San Mateo YMCA and coaches swimming at the Pacific Athletic Club. She is also a champion outrigger steerperson for the Ho’Okahi Pu’uwai Outrigger Canoe Club and is currently training for the Newport to Catalina outrigger race.

Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: nathan@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117.

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