NOH SHOWING (AGAIN) SHE BELONGS
At the Cambia Portland Classic in August, Yealimi Noh (Concord, California) earned a runner-up finish as a non-member after Monday qualifying to get into the field. She is now the 54-hole leader at the LPGA Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, just like she was in Oregon.
“I know I'm ready and have what it takes to play on the LPGA because of this year, but playing well right now feels really good,” said Noh, who carded a bogey-free, 5-under par 66 this afternoon and is 9-under par overall. “I just need to control my conditioning and stuff like that because last week my game was in a good place, but all the exhaustion got to me. I’m finally rested, feel better and just playing my game.”
Noh began her first LPGA Qualifying Tournament process at Stage II in Venice, Fla. and used rounds of 71-72-73-65 to finish tied for 10th and advance to Q-Series. The week prior to that showing, Noh was in Incheon, Republic of Korea for the KLPGA Hana Financial Group Championship where she ended tied for 12th. It was her first true glimpse of what a future travel schedule could look like on the LPGA Tour.
“I usually think I'm pretty good with jet lag and adjust pretty fast, but going from west to east coast kind of messed me up,” Noh said. “When I got back from Asia, I was okay at home then coming over here for another time change was hard. Also, having even more pressure of Q-School and Stage II was probably the hardest thing I’ve done all year. It helped me learn a lot for travel and how to adjust, stuff like that.”
TALLEY SIMPLY STICKING TO THE PROCESS
Another third round performance of 5-under par 66 was turned in by Emma Talley (Princeton, Kentucky) to jump into solo second position after 54 holes. The University of Alabama alumna found six birdies on the day and is one shot back of the lead at 8-under overall.
In her sophomore campaign on the LPGA Tour, Talley made 23 starts and played the weekend 11 times with a season-best of tied for the 11th at the Marathon Classic presented by Dana. The year didn’t quite meet her standards and after a slow start on Pinehurst No. 6, today’s number was very much welcomed.
“I think mentally it is better than anything because the game felt good the first day, really consistent and yesterday didn't hit or putt well and still shot even,” said Talley, a 2017 Epson Tour graduate. “Me and my caddie figured out what I was doing on my putting, and today I putted great. I'm pretty confident for the last five rounds, but can't get too excited, too high or low, so I'm doing drills and same as every day.”
KIM HANGS TOUGH DESPITE BUMPY ENDING
Heading into the final hole of the day, Lauren Kim (Los Altos, California) was 1-under par and tied for the lead at 9-under overall. Finding the greenside bunker on No. 18 proved costly, however, and a double bogey dropped the Stanford University graduate into a tie for third when the dust settled.
“There was a little mud on my ball standing in the fairway, but after talking about it I was okay with a 5-iron from about 177 [yards],” said Kim. “Just tugged it a little bit and didn’t actually think the bunker was that bad, even though it rolled into a little groove where it looked like somebody had raked. Just caught too little sand, then didn't hit the chip well and that's how doubles happen.”
Despite the 1-over par 72, Kim understands the marathon in front of her with 90 holes remaining. She also wants to stay on the right track and get rid of the sour taste from today’s conclusion to the round.
“It’s tough because mentally, I thought we were going to start later today, so waking up this morning the turnaround was kind of quick,” Kim said. “It’s hard to shoot 5-under every day so I'm not really expecting that, but was kind of fighting today. Hopefully can get a good one tomorrow. I think over eight rounds of golf you're going to have a couple that are not so great. Not too bummed, just would've liked to finish at 1-under instead of 1-over, especially on not a terribly difficult hole. Still five rounds left.”
Yealimi Noh (-9, 1st) on her WAPT victory and winning in general:
“A win is still a win. You always feel pressure in any kind of tournament and doesn't matter if it is big or small. I think just knowing how to win and being under pressure helps a lot. Even when I was in junior golf, all the local tournaments I played you might think as small, but it really helped me build confidence in just being able to win under pressure.”
Muni He (-7, T3) on what she learned this season as a LPGA Tour rookie:
“A lot, I think I had a lot to learn. I had a really rough first half of the year, but it was good because I learned what was the best for me in terms of practicing and playing and competing on another level. I'm glad I went through that tough patch. Anything can happen in golf, but I feel comfortable here and more comfortable than last year that’s for sure. Need to continue staying physically and mentally consistent.”
Elizabeth Nagel (-6, T5) on how important an even par third round is in the long run:
“That was big because it wasn't as easy as the first two days and I had to scramble a lot more. Made lots of birdie putts for par. Moving forward I know that I can make those putts when they're for birdie and I had some birdie looks, but, you know, they're not obviously all going to go in. I made couple good putts when they counted, so it was nice.”
Maia Schechter (-6, T5) on 5-under par day and fellow Epson Tour pro Leslie Cloots on bag:
“I think keeping in mind that there is still a lot of golf to play, but my game is solid and feels sustainable like I can keep this going for eight rounds. Also have a great caddie this week who is keeping me calm and focused on every shot, as well as the process. We're really trying to give ourselves 18 birdie chances each round. We have similar approaches to the game and picking lines we're similar. It has been really helpful on approach and tee shots to have somebody saying, ‘Yep, that's where to go.’”
Marissa Steen (-2, T16) on a 4-under par 67 performance and her overall play so far at Q-Series:
“I felt like the first round was kind of all over the place with an eagle and a triple [bogey], seemed kind of rusty even though it hasn't been that long since playing in Dallas [for the Volunteers of America Classic]. Then yesterday was a lot more solid just didn't really hit many close, but rolled it well. Today I put it all together and am definitely more comfortable with this course every day, so excited for tomorrow.”
- Noh, 18, is a native of Concord, California
- Verbally committed to UCLA in August 2017 but instead turned professional in January 2019
- Three-time American Junior Golf Association winner (2017 AJGA Girls Championship, Joanna Winter Arizona Silver Bell Championship, as well as 2018 AJGA Hana Bank Se Ri Pak Championship)
- Member of the victorious Team USA at the 2017 Junior Solheim Cup and 2018 Junior Ryder Cup, also named the 2018 AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year
- Made two starts on the LPGA Tour in 2018 as an amateur sponsor exemption at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open and LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship
- Over three consecutive weeks in July 2018, won the Girls Junior PGA Championship, U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship and Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship
- Professional debut at the 2019 Taiwan Women’s Golf Open (joint event between TLPGA and KLPGA) and Epson Tour debut at IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa
- Competed in five LPGA Tour events as a non-member in 2019 with a career-best result of runner-up at the Cambia Portland Classic, where she Monday qualified to get in the field