June 28, 2018
Four years after her first victory, Concord resident Yealimi Noh returned to capture her second California Junior Girls’ State Championship title. In the near future, the landscape could be changing dramatically.
Noh, 16, won her second CWAC Junior crown on a glorious Thursday afternoon, defeating runner-up and No. 1 seed Madelyn Gamble, 5 and 4, on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula CC. The former Carondelet High standout, who is now homeschooled, was again on her game. She’d go 7-under over the 14 holes of the match to leave Gamble, a 15-year-old sophomore at Carondelet, defenseless.
“She made everything,” said Gamble, who never got to play with Noh at Carondelet.
It was yet another big win for Noh. The No.2 seed, Noh won her quarterfinals and semifinals matches by scores of 6 and 5. If it seemed like she was settling in as the week progressed, she was. When she won her first title in 2014, she did that on the Dunes Course at MPCC.
“It feels good to win here again,” Noh said. “I got more and more comfortable on the Shore Course as the week went on. I always enjoy coming here.”
Along with returning to MPCC, Noh was prepping for the upcoming U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Poppy Hills Golf Course, which is also a match play event.
“I wanted to get in some practice playing match play,” said Noh, whose assault included a 25-foot chip in for birdie from the rough on No.12. “This is a good momentum builder heading into the U.S. Girls’ Junior.”
The schedule will only get more interesting for Noh. Having recently decided to walk away from a full-ride scholarship to UCLA, Noh has plans to turn professional in the fall of 2019.
While that path has already started, a big step will come this October when Noh tees off in the LPGA HanaBank Championship in South Korea on a sponsor’s exemption. She planned on trying to compete at this year’s LPGA Q-School, but has a schedule conflict—so she will wait until next year to really start chasing her dream.
“The plan to turn pro is my decision and mine only. No one pressured me. I just want to turn pro earlier,” Noh said. “I don’t think I’ll adjust well to college golf.”
As for those who doubt her decision and think she may be making a mistake, Noh is confident that in the end she’ll prove them wrong.
“I know that some people are saying it’s too early for me to go pro, and that some think college golf is a stepping stone. Everyone is different. Pro golf is the career I want to follow. So that’s what I’m doing,” Noh said.
Other than facing Noh, Gamble had a great week herself. “It was a lot of fun,” Gamble said. “It was a lot of great competition and it’s such a beautiful place.”
In the Helen Lengfeld Flight, No.8 Nicole Vivier of San Jose took the title, defeating No. 2 Sophie Siminoff of Los Altos Hills, 3 and 2.
In the morning semis, Madelyn Gamble squeezed out a 2 and 1 victory over No.5 Kaleiya Romero. Gamble took a 3-up lead after just seven holes. Romero cut the gap to two holes through 10, but the two halved the remaining seven holes of the match.
Yealimi Noh, meanwhile, cruised to a 6 and 5 win over No.3 Elizabeth Lu. Already 3-up through 8 holes, Noh went on a tear, winning holes No.10 through No. 13 in succession.
June 27, 2018
The semifinals are set at this week’s annual California Junior Girls’ State Championship, and it’s the highest seeds who will duel it out.
On a day that saw both the Round of 16 and quarterfinals contested, it was the group of No.1 seed Madelyn Gambke, No.2 Yealimi Noh, No.3 Elizabeth Lu and No.5 Kaleiya Romero who emerged from the pack on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
Gamble, who hails from Pleasant Hill, marched on with a pair of 2 and 1 wins, the latter coming over No.25 Vani Karimanal. in her Round of 16 match, Gamble went 6-under par over the 17 holes. In the afternoon, Karinmanal took a 1-up lead on the 1st hole but Gamble responded with wins on holes Nos. 3 , 4 and 8 to take a 2-up lead. Karimanal bounced back, making it all-square through the 10th, but Gamble again had an answer, winning holes No. 11 and 12 to retake a 2-up lead.
Gamble will next take on Romero, who opened with a 1-up win in the morning and followed that up with a 3 and 2 quarterfinals win. Romero. In the morning, Romero birdied the 16th and halved the 17th and 18th to knock off Kiran Sangha. In the quarterfinals, Romero trailed by two holes through 10. But then she exploded, winning holes 12 through 16 in succession to close out the match.
The event’s champion in 2014, Noh also eked out a 1-up win in the morning. She’d need a birdie on the 17th and par on the 18th to slip by No. 18 Carissa Wu. In the quarterfinals, Noh was dominant in a 6 and 5 win over Alice Liu. In a sizzling stretch, Noh went 3-under en route to winning holes No.8 through No.13 in succession.
Noh will next face Lu, who also cruised to a 6 and 5 quarterfinals win. In her match, Lu opened with three straight wins on holes Nos. 1 through 3 for a quick lead. She’d later win holes 7 through 9 in succession, thanks in part to an eagle on the par-5 8th.
The Helen Lengfeld Flight semis will feature No.8 Nicole Vivier vs. No.13 Sydney Sung and No.2 Sophie Siminoff vs. No. 11 Catalin Yturralde.
The Starlets Flight title went to Nicole Iniakov with a two-day (18 holes) total of 83.
June 26, 2018
There was one big upset in the opening round of match play at this week’s California Junior Girls’ State Championship on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, but the rest was status quo.
No.4 seed Janelle Jin of Saratoga fell victim to the upset, falling 6 and 5 to No.29 seed Jasmine Chen of Pleasanton. Chen was powered by five straight wins from hole No.5 through No.9. Included in the barrage was an eagle win on the par-5 8th.
No.1 seed Madelyn Gamble of Pleasant Hill trailed by a hole after losing No.3, but came back with wins on holes Nos. 7 and No.8 to get back in control. Later, Gamble birdied the 14th and 16th holes to seal the victory.
In other action, No.2 seed Yealimi Noh, who won the event in 2014, won her opener, 5 and 4, while No.3 seed Elizabeth Lu of Monte Serreno over No.30 Sienna Lyford, 1-up. Lu would shoot a stroke play score of 66, while Lyford had a 69. The two dueled enough that they nearly exchanged hole-in-ones on one hole.
Noh, who hails from Concord, was on her game. She’d go 5-under through the 14 holes of the match. Lu, meanwhile, advanced with a clutch birdie on the closing 18th.
In the Starlets Flight, Nicole Iniakov had a second round 42 (9-holes) to take a three-shot lead over Riley Wang.
Wednesday’s action will consist of the Round of 16 and quarterfinals.
June 25, 2018
Madelyn Gamble of Pleasant Hill will be the No.1 seed for match play at this week’s annual California Junior Girls’ State Championship on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
Gamble fired a 5-under 68 in Monday’s 18-hole stroke play qualifying round, securing medalist honors. She’d post four birdies and an eagle (par-5 16th) to go against just one bogey.
Taking second at earning the No,2 seed was Concord’s Yealimi Noh. Having recently qualified for this year’s U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Poppy Hills GC, Noh shot a 69 with five birdies and a bogey.
Elizabeth Lu of Monte Serreno will be the No. 3 seed after shooting 70. Defending champion Jade Siphomsay of Rancho Cucamonga shot 79 (T-33).
Tuesday’s action will consist of the Round of 32. Wednesday will see the Round of 16 and quarterfinals, with Thursday featuring the semifinals and 18-hole final.
Former winners include Christina Kim (2000) and Dorothy Delasin (1996, 1998).