August 2, 2018
Ethan Chung, Yealimi Noh 2017-2018 JTNC Players of the Year
Boys’ Player of the Year
Ethan Chung had one goal in mind all season—win Player of the Year honors.
The 16-year-old did it in dramatic fashion, showing off his determination along the way.
Entering the season-ending Tour Championship, Chung needed at least a Top 10 finish to pass Alamo’s Ryan Grauman in the standings. To make things more intriguing, Chung, who formerly lived in Cupertino, had since moved to Murrieta, about an hour north of San Diego.
He’d make the trip to Poppy Hills for the championship, placing ninth. By virtue of his finish, he’d end the season with 1,995 points, eclipsing Grauman by just two points in what was the closest Player of the Year race in JTNC history. Grauman took second at 1,993, with Saratoga’s Caleb Shetler placing third at 1,448.
“Winning Player of the Year was my goal the entire season,” Chung said. “When I knew I still had a chance at it I wanted to come back and play.”
During the season, Chung had three wins (Fall Series VI, Fall Series VIII, Spring Series III championships) along with three runner-ups and a third place finish.
His victory at the Fall Series VI was his first on the JTNC circuit.
“Once I got that first win it was a sigh of relief,” Chung said. “I was confident after that. Winning Player of the Year is such an honor.”
Girls’ Player of the Year
Concord resident Yealimi Noh was already in the mix for the Player of the Year honors.
Then, the Summer of Yealimi happened.
Noh, 17, caught fire late in the season, winning both the California Junior Girls’ State Championship and the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Poppy Hills—along with just about everything else—to earn her first Girls’ Player of the Year title with a total of 2,600 points.
Finishing in second place was Mika Jin of Fremont at 2,303. Danielle Suh of San Ramon was third at 2,058, while record four-time Player of the Year Sabrina Iqbal (who’s now playing at Texas Christian University) was fourth at 2,046.
Other wins for Noh, who’s home-schooled and is eyeing turning pro in late 2019, came at the Fall Series IV, Fall Series VII and Summer Series I championships. She also picked up points for her victory at the PGA Girls Junior, where she set the championship record with a 72-hole score of 24-under 264.
Still eligible for another season on the Junior Tour, Noh’s wins moved her to second place on the all-time JTNC Girls’ NorCal majors win list. She’s now at 19 wins, having passed former standout Casie Cathrea. Iqbal is the all-time leader with 29 victories.