Asterisk Talley, sensation of US Open at 15

"I feel like I'm doing what I want," she told reporters

by Andrea Gussoni
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Asterisk Talley, sensation of US Open at 15
© Getty Images Sport - Sarah Stier / Staff

In a grueling US Open, which could be dubbed 'the one with eight Asian surnames,' with an overwhelming majority of players from that continent, 11 out of the top 15, plus two with Asian ancestry, all the praise fell on the young Asterisk Talley, a 15-year-old amateur golfer, at the end of the second round.

Talley, the youngest competitor at the Lancaster Country Club (Pennsylvania), shot a 71, bringing her total to 141, one over par, trailing the leader, Thailand's Wichanee Meechai, by five strokes, with three behind both American Andrea Lee and two Major winners, Minjee Lee and Yuka Saso.

Asterisk Talley, results

The young girl with a big smile, made even more youthful by her braces, had a hard-working Friday. She had two bogeys, on the 12th after hitting the water, on her first nine holes, and then managed to make pars with only one birdie on the par 3 of hole 6 [she had started on the 10th].

"I minimized the mistakes," commented the young golfer, who has just started high school in Chowchilla, a town in inland California, known for its two prisons and fewer than 20,000 inhabitants, and marked in history by the tragic memory of the kidnapping and murder of a school bus full of children in 1976.

Talley was a prodigy from the cradle. At the age of three, her talent caught the attention, and her father hired a coach for her. By the age of eight, she was under the guidance of Mike Schy, who among others, trained the early steps of Bryson DeChambeau.

"You were in front of her and you thought you were talking to someone who was 20," Schy commented. The daughter of a Greek mother, who is the one who gave her that unique name, which translates to little star, spent last summer in Spain to play in the Junior Solheim Cup, where her driver did not go unnoticed.

She is among the top five longest hitters in the history of golf, with shots that exceed 250 meters. "I feel like I'm doing what I want," she told reporters. "My goal was to make the cut in this tournament, and now I'm aiming to be the best amateur in the field," a challenging task as Megan Schofill, the winner of last year's US Amateur, is tied with her, and Catherine Park, one stroke behind.

They are ranked 16th and 12th in the amateur rankings, where Talley is still 87th. "But above all, I want to enjoy this first experience." Meechai, a birdie-making machine - with 11 in two days - jumped into the lead alone.

The golfer who claims to feel at home in a "haunted" house in the residence she rented last minute for this week's tournament, handled the devilish greens better than anyone. At 31 years old and without victories on the LPGA, she sees the experience of Minjee Lee and Saso as a major obstacle for the weekend and the final victory.

"But if there's a ghost in that house, it likes me." Meanwhile, Carlota Ciganda made the cut, which was not surpassed by, among others, Nelly Korda; Rose Zhang, Lydia Ko, and Lexi Thompson. The Navarrese golfer is 29th after shooting 73, three over par, in the second round.

She made par on the second nine holes, with one birdie and one bogey, after struggling a lot at the start. She even had to overcome a double bogey on the only par 5 (hole 7) on the front nine.

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