Yealimi Noh continues strong summer heading to final round at AIG Women’s Open in Scotland
Yealimi Noh has turned around her 2021 season on the LPGA Tour and sits tied for eighth, three strokes off the lead, heading to the final round of this week’s AIG Women’s Open in Carnoustie, Scotland. Her performance in the year’s fifth and final major is nearly as good as she performed at the Amundi Evian Championship last month when she was third.
Noh reached -10 through 15 holes Saturday, with her five birdies including a streak of four consecutive from holes 4-7. But she was bitten by the notoriously difficult finishing stretch at Carnoustie, making bogeys at 16 and 17 and then finding the Barry Burn that fronts the 18th green. A closing double bogey dropped her to -6 overall and into a tie for eighth, in a group that includes Olympic gold medalist Nelly Korda and 2016 AIG Women’s Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn.
The rains finally came down at Carnoustie on Saturday, with the afternoon seeing a steady light rain that kept the field on its toes. And at the end of the day, a pair of Scandinavian players in Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen rose to the challenge. The duo is tied for the lead at -9 heading into Sunday’s final round of the AIG Women’s Open.
Nordqvist’s bogey-free 7-under 65 is the lowest round of her major career and the lowest round so far of the competition. She missed just one green all day and vaulted from a tie for 23rd to the top of the leaderboard at -9.
Noh had a rough go in her first 10 LPGA tournament his year when she twice missed the cut and six times finished in 33rd place or lower. A tie for 13th was her best performance. Since her tie for 64th at the US Open in San Francisco and then missing the cut the following week again in the Bay Area, the Concord native has been on a roll.
Starting with the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on the last weekend of June, Nob has won over a half million dollars in prize money with two third-place finishes as well as a 7th, 14th and 15th. Regardless of her place this weekend she will pass the $1 million mark in official LPGA Tour earnings in what is still considered her rookie season due to the abbreviated slate of tournaments in 2020.
Her strong play in the past two months has raised her Rolex World Golf Ranking to 29th.
2nd round report
After 36 holes at the AIG Women’s Open, two players at very different points in their careers are tied for the lead at -7. England’s Georgia Hall won the 2018 AIG Women’s Open in her rookie year on the LPGA Tour, while American Mina Harigae is competing in her 243rd event on Tour, still seeking her first win.
Lizette Salas, who finished runner-up at the 2019 AIG Women’s Open, is tied with 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA winner Sei Young Kim for third at -6. Noh, major champions Lexi Thompson and Yuka Saso, and three other players are tied for fifth at -5.
Rolex World Rankings No. 1 and Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Nelly Korda of the US sits a shot behind Noh at -4.
Berths on the USA and Europe teams for the 2021 Solheim Cup will be determined with the completion of play. Noh will most likely have to win the Open to have a chance to be selected for the international classic Sept. 10-12 at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. Team USA Captain Pat Hurst and Team Europe Captain Catriona Matthew will finalize their automatic qualifiers following play Sunday, with the captains’ picks announced on Monday.
This AIG Women’s Open has set a new benchmark for prize money in women’s golf with the announcement that the prize fund for this year’s Championship will increase by $1.3 million to $5.8 million with the winner earning $870,000.
With the support of title sponsor AIG, the largest prize fund in women’s Major Championship golf will increase by a further $1 million to no less than $6.8 million in 2022. This will more than double the prize fund from 2018 before AIG’s partnership with The R&A commenced.
The 2021 LPGA Tour major season ends this week at Carnoustie for the 2021 AIG Women’s Open, crowning the final major champion of the season. A field of 144 world-class athletes began play on the famed links, located at the mouth of the Barry Burn on the coast of the North Sea.
Noh spent her last day as a teenager in France last month with the world looking in while she led the Amundi Evian Championship on the back nine of the year’s fourth major before missing makeable birdie putts on three of the last four holes to fall one stroke short of getting in a playoff.