The big story from this week’s US Women’s Open comes not from a seasoned pro with multiple majors already under their belt, but from a 14-year-old amateur.
Regarded as one of America’s hottest prospects, Chloe Kovelesky is making waves in the world of golf.
The teenager, who turned 14 in January, will be the youngest golfer at the 76th US Women’s Open, being hosted at Olympic Club this week.
The Floridian qualified for the event on May 11 at Banyan Cay Resort and Golf in West Palm Beach, with impressive back-to-back rounds of 70.
“Thirty six holes later and I’m proud to say I qualified for the US Women’s Open Championship,” said a delighted Kovelesky on social media at the time. “Thank you to everyone at Boca Woods Country Club and Quail Ridge for helping me to achieve this. I’m so excited.”
For those following the progress of the young amateur, her qualification for the second women’s major of the year should come as little surprise.
In her short amateur career, the young starlet has already racked up an impressive calibre of accolades. Kovelesky claimed two US Kids titles at the age of seven and eight and an IMG Academy Junior World Championship in 2015.
Kovelesky also claimed victory at LPGA star Morgan Pressel’s Morgan and Friends charity tournament when she was just seven years old, and the two have remained close ever since.
The amateur is now following in the footsteps of her mentor and hero, with Pressel once holding the record for the youngest qualifier for the US Women’s Open at 12 years old in 2001 – a feat bested by 11-year-old Lucy Li in 2014.
Despite her amateur status, currently sitting at 898th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, Kovelesky is already well-versed in the world of pro golf, having made 11 starts on the Florida mini-tour circuit, posting six top-5s and a victory at a National Women’s Golf Association event back in February.
A key facet to her game and success has been the astounding length which the 14-year-old can bomb the ball. It has been reported by Golf Digest that Kovelesky averages between 280 to 290 yards off the tee – a distance which would currently see her ranked fourth in the LPGA driving distance statistics.
Although Olympic Club, a notoriously challenging venue, will be the hardest test of her relatively short golf career so far, she seems keen to lap up the experience.
“I’m looking forward to meeting everyone,” she said to Yahoo Sports. “I love being able to be there and kind of see what my future looks like.”
Kovelesky will get her first taste of major golf when she tees off at 17:16 (UK time) on Thursday, alongside Megan Osland and Britney Yada.