July 16-21, 2018, Poppy Hills Golf Course, Pebble Beach, Calif.
By Chris Ceman
It’s been an eventful couple of weeks for Yealimi Noh, but a first-round 5-under-par 66 at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship falls right in line with her latest accomplishment.
A little over a week ago, the Concord native showed up at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, Kentucky, to compete in the Girls Junior PGA Championship. One of the of the bigger events on the national stage, to compete for an automatic berth onto the 2018 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team.
“When I first starting thinking about this year and my goals,” Noh said, “I knew my main goal was to make it onto the Junior Ryder Cup Team.”
Even though Noh was in good position to make the team through the points system, she knew she had an opportunity to lock up the spot with four days of solid play. She did not let that opportunity go to waste.
She played her first three rounds bogey-free, 66-65-64, to jump out to a 7-shot lead against one of the best fields in junior golf. With enough of a cushion to play the final round more conservative, she finally ceded her lone bogey of the tournament on the back nine, while cruising to a four-shot victory.
That was four days ago.
Two days ago, she arrived in Pebble Beach to begin the first of her two practice rounds for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, and today she looked to begin her next big event.
“I was actually pretty tired coming back from Kentucky,” Noh said, “I felt it these last couple of days out on the range and practicing. I was not hitting the ball well, so I’m really happy I was able to put it together out on the course today when it mattered.”
Noh didn’t get out to the start she wanted. A notoriously long hitter, Noh started on No. 10—a reachable par 5—but came away with a bogey.
“My drive didn’t set me up well on my first hole,” Noh said. “I don’t know what it was, but I was able to come back with a birdie on my second hole, which I think loosened me up for the rest of the round.”
She would play the rest of her first round at 5-under par, putting her name at the top of the leaderboard with the second wave of tee times still out on the course.
“I’m just glad I’ve put myself in a good spot to qualify for match play,” Noh Said. “I just really want to make a deep run in match play. I haven’t been able to do it in the past, but getting to the finals would be amazing.”
The Junior of Northern California standout has a 2:05 p.m. starting time on Tuesday. Make sure to keep an eye on the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship leaderboard for live scoring throughout the day.