Photo: USGA via Twitter
The summer was hot and so was 17-year-old Yealimi Noh’s golf game. Last month, she won four tournaments in a row starting with the California Junior Girls State Championship. She followed it up by claiming the title at the Girls Junior PGA Championship in dominating fashion, the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship and the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship. Currently ranked at No. 21 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, Yealimi has played in the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex the past three years, with her best finish (T-6) this past January.
We caught up with Yealimi after her incredible July run. She shared a little bit about herself and about her golf career, including last month’s hot streak.
What are three words you would use to best describe yourself?
Competitive, determined and funny.
What is your biggest fear?
Who is your favorite golfer?
What is your favorite tournament you have played in and why?
The AJGA Thunderbird because of the awesome gifts and milkshakes!
What is one thing that not many people know about you?
People that do not know me personally might think I am very serious and closed off. However, once you get to know me and talk to me, I am very talkative and friendly.
How do you spend your free time outside of golf?
I enjoy photography and just relaxing at home and watching TV.
Who is your biggest role model and why?
My parents are my biggest role models because they always work hard and they do their best at everything, which inspires me to do the same.
How big of a part is fitness in your golf training? Is there a specific area you work on that you think is most important for improving your game?
Fitness is a big part of my life. When I am not away at tournaments, I go to the gym about 4-5 times a week. I like to work on my whole body; arms, core and legs. Working out my arms helps me create more speed and strength. I work out my legs since I walk so many holes.
What is your greatest memory of playing golf so far?
July 2018 will always be a great month and memory for me. Winning four tournaments in a row is a big accomplishment of mine. (California Junior Girls State Championship, Girls Junior PGA Championship, U.S. Girls Junior Championship, and Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship).
How/Why did you start playing golf?
I started playing golf when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I started by just following my dad out to the range and hitting balls for fun.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring female golfers who are just starting to play the game?
Some advice would be to always practice hard with a goal in mind. And to have confidence and believe in yourself always.
Outside of winning tournaments, how has playing golf impacted your life?
Golf has impacted my life so much. Because of it, I have met some of my best friends and people all over the world. My social skills as well as public speaking have improved because of golf.
What do you think can be done to continue growing the game of golf outside the United States?
I think creating many junior tournaments and exposing the game in different ways can help grow the game outside of the U.S.
You have competed in the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex the past three years. Can you share with us what you learned, if anything, at these events? What was your favorite part of the tournament?
The ANNIKA Invitational is one of the best junior events of the year. Being able to interact and ask questions with a legend like Annika is so amazing and inspiring. The clinic was definitely my favorite part of the event, especially gathering enough courage to go out and hit balls with Annika will be a memory I will cherish.
What was your best round of golf so far and where did it take place?
-8 at Kearney Hills Golf Links in Kentucky at the Girls Junior PGA Championship.
You have had quite the season so far. Congratulations on your back-to-back-to-back wins at the Jr. PGA Championship, U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship and the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship. Is there anything specific you would attribute your recent success too?
Thank you! I would say all the hard work and dedication as well as focus was the reason for my success.
How are you able to remain calm and stay focused on your game when you are in contention? In general, do you have any tips to young girls for conquering the mental part of the game?
For the Junior PGA I had a 7-stroke lead going into the final day and with a lead that big I didn't have as many nerves as I would've had if the lead were smaller. But toward the end of the round I got a little nervous but was able to get the job done by staying calm and not thinking too much about the other players scores. Match play is a whole other story. During match play, you can never let your guard down and never give up because you never know what your opponent might do.
We are very confident that we will be seeing a lot more of Yealimi Noh in the headlines as she continues her golf career. The California native is ranked 2nd in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and has captured the most wins this season with five titles. With her Junior PGA Championship win, she earned one of six female spots on the 2018 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team and will play at Disneyland Paris Sept 24-25. She also claimed a spot next year in the U.S. Women’s Open, as well as the next two U.S. Women’s Amateurs thanks to her U.S. Girls Junior Championship win. Noh, who turned down a scholarship to UCLA, intends to turn pro in 2019 after she graduates high school. We wish her nothing but the best and look forward to following her golf career in the future.