July 3, 2015
Down one with just one hole to play, Simar Singh got a reminder from her father, Biri, as she headed to the 18th tee.
“Don’t give up,” he said.
Moments later, everything did change.
With her back against the wall, Singh drained a clutch 20-foot putt for birdie on the 18th, and later won the 19th hole thanks to a perfect 3-wood, to capture the 66th annual California Junior Girls’ State Championship on a sunny Friday at Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel Valley.
The No.11 seed, Singh upset No.1 seed and good friend Yealimi Noh of Concord, who was going for her second title in a row.
“The best thing is that there are a few girls that are older than me that have won this, and they’re going to big college programs,” Singh said. “Hopefully it’s a stepping stone for me.”
Benicia resident Kathleen Scavo, who’s headed to the University of Oregon this fall, won the event in both 2012 and 2013. The Olympic Club member Hannah O’Sullivan, who was runner-up at this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball and won the title in 2010, has already committed to USC for 2016.
Neither Scavo nor O’Sullivan got their victories the way Singh did.
Having just the lost 17th hole to fall one behind, things didn’t look too good for Singh on 18 when Noh chipped up to within easy range of making par. Singh, however, upped the ante by sinking her birdie putt, sending the match to extra holes.
“Putting is my favorite part of golf. When it’s on, it saves me,” said Singh, a sophomore at Los Altos High. “I wasn’t looking for a birdie on 18. I just thought, take it shot by shot. I had nothing to lose. It was cool when the putt in.”
Having already come back from the brink once, Singh repeated the heroics on the 19th hole. Playing the par-5 14th, she’d hit her drive into a fairway bunker. From there, she could only advance her ball another 15 yards.
Even then, she was still short of Noh’s drive, which sat in the middle of the fairway.
Then she hit one of the best shots of her budding career. From 245 yards out, Singh laced a 3-wood that fit perfectly between the greenside bunkers. Her ball would stop 18 feet from the pin.
“I had that shot all four days. All the other ones I never hit the green,” Singh said. “This time I actually pulled it off. I knew Yealimi was going to go for it.”
Noh did go for the green in two, but found the series of greenside bunkers on the right. On her third shot, she could only advance the ball to a spot between the bunkers.
“I was kind of nervous knowing that I had to hit over the second bunker,” Noh said. “It was a really tough match. We kept going back and forth.”
A freshman at Carondelet High in Concord, Noh hit a great pitch to within 5 feet of the flagstick, but missed her par putt. Singh two-putted for the win.
“Yealimi is an amazing player,” Singh said. “I knew it would be a tough match.”
Ironically, during almost the entire rest of the match it was Singh’s putter that was stopping her. With the match all-square on the 7th, she missed a 1-footer for par. On No.8, Singh had to settle for a halve when her putt lipped out. On both Nos. 11 and 12, she had chances to win the holes but three-putted.
On the 17th, Singh missed an 8-footer for par. Overall, she had three putts lip-out.
“I’ve been struggling with my putter the last few weeks. I knew I had to be patient with it,” Singh said. “I just kept at it.”
In the morning semifinals, Noh advanced with a 2 and 1 win over Danville’s Ty Akabane, while Singh slipped by Samantha Gong of San Francisco, 1-up.
There was also drama in the Helen Lengfeld Flight.
No.5 seed Tiffany Cha of San Ramon finally got by San Jose’s Kaleiya Romero in the morning semifinals with a win on the 22nd hole. Cha went on to win the title, knocking off No.6 Kiran Sangha of San Mateo, 5 and 3. Sangha had defeated Campbell’s Clare Brady, 3 and 2, in the semifinals.
July 2, 2015
The brackets got completely shaken up, but No.1 seed and defending champion Yealimi Noh of Concord is still right in the thick of things.
Noh was one of four players advancing to the semifinals of this week’s annual California Junior Girls’ State Championship, escaping with a 19th hole quarterfinals win on a busy Thursday at par-71 Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel Valley. Also moving on to the semifinals were No.20 seed Ty Akabane of Danville, No.10 Samanatha Gong of San Francisco and No.11 Simar Singh of Los Altos.
A freshman at Carondelet High who’s looking for her second straight title, Noh was pushed to the brink by upset-minded No.9 seed Annie Liu of Pleasanton. In a match that was tight throughout, Noh was the first one to break through, winning the 7th hole with a birdie to grab a 1-up lead. Just two holes later though, Liu brought it back to all-square with a birdie on the par-5 9th.
Later, on the 11th, it was Noh’s turn again as she birdied to again take a 1-up lead. But Liu again held firm, notching a birdie on the par-5 15th to again make things all-square. Tied after regulation, the duo returned to the par-5 1st hole, where Noh made par while Liu bogeyed.
In the morning Round of 16, Noh looked unstoppable. She’d cruise to an 8 and 6 win, going 5-under through her 12 holes. Over her 19 holes versus Liu, she’d go 1-under.
Noh’s next opponent will be Akabane, who moved on with a solid 4 and 3 quarterfinals win over No.12 seed Sabrina Iqbal of San Jose. A freshman at San Ramon Valley High, Akabane took a 2-up lead on the 4th hole and never looked back. With a birdie on the 9th, she’d boost her lead to 3-up. Another birdie on the par-3 12th extended her cushion to 4-up and paved the way to victory.
Iqbal, the 2014 Junior Tour of Northern California Girls’ Player of the Year, couldn’t get her putter to cooperate. Her loss on the 4th hole was the result of a short missed putt for par.
The winner of the Helen Lengfeld Flight at last year’s California Women’s Amateur Championship, Akabane had earlier dispatched No.4 seed Quynn Duong of San Jose via a 2-up win.
The other semifinal match will feature Gong taking on Singh.
Gong moved on after defeating No.15 Vanessa Richani of Granite Bay, 2 and 1. In the Round of 16, Richani pulled off the biggest upset at the event thus far, knocking out No.2 Chloe Corriveau of Pebble Beach, 2 and 1.
With a birdie on the 7th, Gong, who finished eighth at last year’s CIF State Girls’ Championship, took a 2-up lead over Richani. A birdie on the 10th later upped the lead to 3-up. Richani tried to stay alive, winning the 14th with a par but the two halved holes No.15 through No.17.
Singh, one of many JTNC standouts in the field, had to come back to get by No.14 Nicole Schroeder of Rocklin.
Following a birdie on No.3, Schroeder jumped out to a quick 2-up lead. From holes No. 6 through No.8, however, it was all Singh, as she’d win all three to take a 1-up lead. A Singh bogey on the 10th got Schroeder back to all-square, but Singh, who recently qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur, later responded by winning holes No.13 and 14 back-to-back for a 2-up lead. The two halved their final three holes.
With a win, Noh would join Benicia’s Kathleen Scavo (2012-2013) as the latest player to win two straight titles. Prior to Scavo, who’ll begin playing at Oregon in the fall, the last player to repeat as champion was Sharon Barrett in 1978-1979.
The brackets in the Helen Lengfeld Flight also got turned upside down. The semifinals will feature No.16 Kaleiya Romero of San Jose taking on No.5 Tiffany Cha of San Ramon and No.15 Clare Brady of Campbell facing No.6 Kiran Sangha of San Mateo.
Romero made her charge by knocking out No.1 seed Courtney Gaoiran, 6 and 5, in the Round of 16. Brady eliminated No.2 seed Maddie Jun of Sunnyvale, 5 and 4.
Friday’s semifinals will begin at 8:20 a.m. The 18-hole championship match will tee off later at 1 p.m.
July 1, 2015
There was one big upset, but otherwise the first round of match play at this week’s California Junior Girls’ State Championship at par-71 Quail Lodge Resort went according to form.
No.1 seed Yealimi Noh of Concord, No. 2 seed Chloe Corrieveau of Pebble Beach and No.4 seed Quynn Duong of San Jose all won their Round of 32 matches on Wednesday. No.3 Madelyn Gamble of Pleasant Hill wasn’t as fortunate, falling to No.30 Jessica Jeong of Dublin, 3 and 1.
Noh, who’s looking for her second title in a row, had to survive a tough test delivered by No.32 seed Catalin Yturralde before emerging with a 4 and 2 win. Yturralde, of La Mesa, was able to keep the match at all-square through the first 12 holes. Noh finally broke free with four consecutive wins from holes No.13 through No.16. On the par-5 15th, Noh hit a perfect approach shot that landed within two feet of the flagstick, easily tapping in for birdie. Yturralde missed her birdie try from 9 feet.
A former star at Santa Catalina High in Monterey, Corriveau was tested early in her match versus No.31 Annika Borrelli. The two were all-square through seven holes before Corriveau, who’s headed to the University of Washington in the fall, won with pars on both the 8th and 10th for a 2-up lead. Borrelli cut the deficit to 1-up with a victory on the par-4 11th, but Corriveau later closed the door, winning holes No.14 and No.15 with a par and birdie, respectively. A birdie on the 17th gave Corriveau a 3 and 1 win.
Duong, the winner of last year’s The First Tee Silicon Valley Junior Championship, punched her ticket to the Round of 16 with a convincing 5 and 4 win over No.29 Alyssa Sales of Palo Alto. Duong wasted no time in taking control, staking herself to a 5-up through the first 10 holes. She’ll next face No.20 Ty Akabane of Danville, who also won her opener, 5 and 4. Akabane won the Helen Lengfeld Flight at last year’s California Women’s Amateur Championship.
For Gamble, things didn’t turn out so great. One of the youngest players in the field, she’d take a quick 1-up lead with a win on the 1st but Jeong just as fast made the match all-square with a victory on the 2nd. On the par-3 5th, Jeong took the lead with a birdie and never looked back. Gamble managed to bring it back to all-square with a victory on the 10th, but Jeong later won holes No.13, 16 and 17 to pull off the upset.
The biggest win of the day came from No.11 Simar Singh of Los Altos, who claimed an opening 6 and 5 victory.
Noh next faces No.15 Grace Chen of Sunnyvale, who won her opener on the 19th hole. Corriveau will take on No.15 Vanessa Richani of Granite Bay, who advanced with a 4 and 2 victory.
In the Helen Lengfeld Flight, No.2 seed Maddie Jun of Mountain View moved on to the Round of 16, defeating No.31 Mingming Sky, 6 and 4. No.3 Audrey Heckel of San Jose and No.4, Elizabeth Scholtes of Alameda, also won. No.1 seed Courtney Gaoiran will see her first action on Thursday after receiving a first round bye.
On Thursday, both the Round of 16 and quarterfinals will be held, followed by the semifinals and final on Friday. The event is being held at Quail Lodge Resort this year due to the re-model of the Dunes Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
Former winners of the event include Dorothy Delasin and Christina Kim.
June 30, 2015
Concord resident Yealimi Noh is picking up right where she left off.
The defending champion, Noh earned the No.1 seed at this week’s annual California Junior Girls’ State Championship on Tuesday, posting a 71 at par-71 Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel Valley in the round of stroke play qualifying.
Noh was steady, carding three birdies with three bogeys. In last year’s finals, Noh, then age 12, defeated runner-up Camille Wagg of Rocklin, 1-up.
Finishing in a tie for second, and claiming the three other Top 4 seeds after coming in with matching scores of 73, were Chloe Corriveau of Pebble Beach, Madelyn Gamble of Pleasant Hill and Quynn Duong of San Jose. Corriveau, a former star at Santa Catalina High in Monterey, finished in a tie for fifth at the recent NCGA Women’s Amateur Championship.
San Jose resident Sabrina Iqbal, who was the Girls’ Player of the Year on the Junior Tour of Northern California last year, finished stroke play T-11 after shooting 77. Ty Akabane of Danville, who won the Helen Lengfeld Flight at last year’s California Women’s Amateur Championship, shot a 79 (T-19).
Kathleen Scavo of Benicia is the last player to win back-to-back titles at the event, having claimed victories in 2012-2013. Prior to Scavo, the last player to repeat as champion was Sharon Barrett in 1978-1979.
Wednesday’s action will consist of the first round of match play. On Thursday, both the Round of 16 and quarterfinals will be held, followed by the semifinals and final on Friday. The event is being held at Quail Lodge Resort this year due to the re-model of the Dunes Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
Former winners of the event include Dorothy Delasin and Christina Kim.