Lucy Li already has an LPGA Tour card for next year. She played Friday like she's ready to enter the big leagues sooner.
Li scored five birdies in seven holes on the back nine and no bogeys the rest of the way for a 7-under 64 that gave her the early lead in the Dana Open.
Another 19-year-old, Chinese rookie Ruoning Yin, recorded a 69 and was two strokes behind.
Li is well recognised for becoming the youngest player in the U.S. Women's Open when she qualified at age 11 in 2014 at Pinehurst No. 2.
The 19-year-old Californian has won twice this year on the Epson Tour to clinch one of the developing circuit's 10 LPGA licences for 2023.
“It certainly gives me the option to play free knowing that I have status next year and concentrating on other objectives, like participating in more LPGA starts,” Li said.