Yealimi Noh goes 24 under to cruise to win at Girls Junior PGA Championship

Darren Carroll/PGA of America

Yealimi Noh goes 24 under to cruise to win at Girls Junior PGA Championship

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Yealimi Noh goes 24 under to cruise to win at Girls Junior PGA Championship

Yealimi Noh could not be stopped at the Girls Junior PGA Championship, and it led to a record-setting win.

The 16-year-old took control of the tournament in the second round at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, Ky., and went from there, cruising to a 24-under 264 total and a four-shot win Thursday.

The 2019 prospect, ranked second in her class by Golfweek, opened with rounds of 66, 65 and 64 and closed in 3-under 69 to set the championship record for lowest 72-hole score. Her dominant performance meant a flip of the top of the leaderboard from 2017.

Noh, of Concord, Calif., finished runner-up to Rose Zhang last year, but it was Zhang who earned second place this time around.

“Last year I was close, but not quite there,” said Noh, via a PGA of America release. “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 was bogey-free for the first 65 holes of the tournament, and finished with just a single bogey all week compared to 25 birdies. Her win earned her a spot on the 2018 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team and into next year’s inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship (provided she stays amateur).

Zhang also earned a U.S. Junior Ryder Cup spot with her runner-up finish.

“To make the team at this tournament, it’s something I’ve always dreamed of,” said Zhang. “I’m honored to represent the U.S. Team.”

First-round leader Alexa Melton followed her opening 63 with 10-under golf over the next 54 holes. But on this birdie binge of a tournament, that only netted her solo third at 19 under.

Alexa Pano finished in solo fourth at 17 under and reigning U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Erica Shepherd placed fifth at 15 under.

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