She’s a high school freshman. Now she’s beating golf’s best at the U.S. Women’s Open

asterisk talley crouches over a putt at the u.s. women's open

Asterisk Talley is the youngest player in the U.S. Women's Open, and she's fully in contention.

Getty Images

LANCASTER, Pa. — Asterisk Talley might be on her way to golf stardom, but a few things still stand in her way.

Like sophomore year of high school. Or a driver’s license. Or prom.

Or boys.

Such is life for the youngest player in the field at this year’s U.S. Women’s Open. And such was life specifically on Friday afternoon at Lancaster Country Club, when the 15-year-old phenom found herself 20 feet off the side of the 9th green (her final hole of the day) and facing something of a career first.

“Can I have your number?” The boy asked from just outside the rope line, a few feet from a giggling group of his budies.

“Ummm…” Asterisk replied, cheeks turning bright pink.

Fortunately, she would not be forced to deliver any heartbreak on U.S. Open Friday. By the time she’d made it to the 9th, the crowds had formed in considerable numbers outside of the ropes, each hoping to glimpse at the teenager who’d burst into contention at the biggest event in women’s golf. And by the time Asterisk would have been forced to deliver an answer to the young boy, the crowds had granted her an out: a few-dozen autograph-seeking adults, already screaming her name a dozen feet ahead.

So the boy did not get a phone number, and perhaps just as well. As the attention turns toward the weekend at Lancaster C.C., Ms. Talley has much bigger things to worry about.

Like the U.S. Women’s Open, where she is suddenly in legitimate position to contend for the win.

Every so often in professional golf, a player emerges with such obvious talent and guile that their golfing ability stands in contrast to their lived experiences. (How can someone master the golf swing without having mastered geometry?) For whatever reason, the setting for this emergence frequently seems to be the U.S. Women’s Open. In 2007, Lexi Thompson reset the age barrier in women’s golf with her first national championship start at just 12 years old. In 2013, a 14-year-old Nelly Korda rolled in an eagle in her first U.S. Women’s and delivered the line of the week.

At 15 years and 106 days old, Asterisk Talley is a good deal older and wiser than either of the above players at the time of their U.S. Women’s Open debuts. But through two days at Lancaster Country Club, Talley stands out from her superstar counterparts because, well, she’s beating both of them. By a lot.

Asterisk — whose name comes from her Greek mother and translates to “little star” — has been a little star through two days at a brutish national championship. At the 36-hole mark, she’s 1 over for the tournament. That’s considerably better than professional counterparts Thompson and Korda, and at the time of this writing was better than all but four golfers in the field.

“I feel like my expectations were to at least make the cut. That’s what I wanted to do,” she said Friday. “Then if I achieved that, I wanted to get low amateur. But I feel like that’s still achievable even after today’s round.”

Indeed, it is achievable after Friday, though there’s perhaps an argument to be made that even low amateur is underselling it. Talley has looked every bit like she belongs amongst the best players in the women’s game in Lancaster, her beansprout stature belying a violent golf swing carrying some serious pop. She hits her driver 275 on a good day, she says, and that was good enough to be well longer than the fellow members of her group over her opening two rounds of the week.

But length hasn’t always been an asset of her game. She’s been playing golf since she was a toddler, but her ball-striking only shot up about a year ago. The real strong suit of her game developed well before then.

“I feel like I’m really calm on the golf course. People always tell me that, too. I don’t really get hyped on the golf course,” she said with a tinge of self-deprecation. “I feel like when I make a birdie, I’m like, well, whatever, and if I make a bogey, it’s like, well, I’ll birdie the next hole.”

These skills have proven helpful in a USWO setup that has spared no victims. While others have wilted under the weight of major championship pressure, Asterisk has shrugged her way through two of the toughest days in the sport in 2024.

“On hole 8, I landed short of the green and I ended up rolling out about eight feet past the pin, and it was like the scariest putt I had all day,” she said with a laugh. “I was just like, this is only eight feet, so let’s try to get it within two-putt distance.

Her performance has earned her a following, but her candor has helped, too. Her round on Friday ended with a lengthy autograph session that was interrupted by an appearance on Golf Channel. Asked later if the pressure had caught up to her yet, she laughed.

“Not really. I feel like I’m kind of used to it,” she said, pausing for a beat. “But at the same time, I haven’t been in one of these.”

“But it’s not that bad, so…”

Call it youthful ignorance or beyond-her-years indifference, but Asterisk Talley has a certain magnetism surrounding her at the USWO — a magnetism certain to grow once she tees it up in a late-afternoon tee time on national television at a major championship Saturday. The crowds and the cameras and the boys have suddenly started paying attention to the teenage girl with the eye-catching name who keeps climbing higher up the leaderboard, all the way up to T5.

That’s a number any teenager would like to have.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at

Watch, play, win. Chirp Golf is your home for the best of real money Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and Free-To-Play games.

Watch, play, win

Chirp Golf is your home for the best of real money Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and Free-To-Play games. Featuring simple to play. easy to learn, and fun games. Chirp Golf has something for every golf fan.

Scan to Download:

Google Play Apple Store