Concord golfer Yealimi Noh led with two holes remaining in the Cambia Portland Classic at the beginning of the month as she sought her first LPGA tournament victory. But Australian Hannah Green, four years older than the 18-year-old Noh, rallied over the last four holes to gain a one-shot win.
Sounding much like the teenager she is, an emotional Noh after leaving the scoring tent following her last round said, “It sucks” as she digested all the ramifications of her near storybook week in Portland.
As a non-member of the LPGA Tour she had to qualify on Monday to get into the tournament field. She did that as the co-medalist in the qualifying round.
She then went out and shot 65-68-64 to take a three-shot lead into the final round as she attempted to become only the third player ever to win an LPGA tournament after qualifying on Monday. She still had that three-shot advantage over Green heading to the 15th hole but she ended up with two bogeys on the final four holes while the Australian had a pair of birdies.
The biggest disappointment about not winning in Portland is that Noh would have qualified immediately for the LPGA Tour and wouldn’t have to take part in the daunting LPGA Qualifying School next month in Florida and North Carolina. Prior to that she has sponsor commitments and tournaments in Korea and Japan in the coming weeks.
Noh pocketed $119,765 for her 20 under par score and second-place finish in Portland.
Solid and great
“I played really solid and great,” said Noh, who was also in the race at July’s Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, where she was near the top of the leaderboard shooting in the 60s all four days and finally finished sixth. “(Green) remained very strong, so congratulations to her. Yes, it’s crazy, but hopefully I will come back after Q-School and play on the Tour next year.”
Green, who won her first major earlier this year at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, said, “I told her, ‘This won’t be the last time you’re in this position.’”
The Concord teen attended Carondelet High School as a freshman and sophomore before being homeschooled while honing her golf game with an eye for competing in college or turning pro.
Noh rejected a full-ride scholarship to UCLA and instead turned professional last January after winning the Junior PGA Championship, American Girls Junior Championship and Canadian Women’s Championship for women in consecutive weeks during a magical 2018 summer run.
Her performances at the Thornberry and Cambia tournaments have put her in the spotlight so she won’t be sneaking up on any more tournament fields. She’ll go into Q-School as one of the younger but more heralded players looking for that coveted tour membership card.