One year after her runner-up finish, Yealimi Noh is the 2018 Girls Junior PGA champion.
The 16-year-old from Concord, Calif., took control during the second round and went on to a record-breaking, four-stroke victory in the 43rd Girls Junior PGA Championship at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington on Thursday.
Noh posted 25 birdies and just one bogey combined over four days. She fired rounds of 66, 65, 64 and 69 for a 24-under 264, setting a 72-hole record for the tournament.
“Last year I was close, but not quite there,” Noh said. “Coming into the week, I really wanted to win. I set my goals pretty high, so I’m really happy I was able to achieve them and that all the hard work over the past few weeks and months paid off.”
Noh’s only bogey of the week came on the par-3 No. 12 hole Thursday.
“Before I went to sleep last night, I realized I went 54 holes without a bogey, which I’ve never done,” Noh said. “I kept thinking about it before the round, but once I started playing, the thought went away. When I did make the bogey, I told myself, ‘It’s only one bogey out of all those holes, so I’m good with it.’”
With the win, Noh earned a berth on the 2018 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team. That tournament will take place in Paris Sept. 24-25. Noh also earned a spot in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship which will be played next April, provided she maintains amateur status.
Last year’s champion, Rose Zhang of Irvine, Calif., finished second this time around. With a birdie on No. 18 she edged out third-place finisher Alexa Pano, of Lake Worth, Fla., by one stroke and also earned a spot on the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team.
Lizzie Loy finished highest among Kentuckians in the field. The Jamestown resident shot a 3-under 285 to finish tied for 23rd.