Yealimi Noh takes a three-shot lead into the final round of the LPGA's 2019 Cambia Portland Classic, and the 18-year-old is in pole position as she looks to become the third-ever Monday qualifier to win on the tour.
Noh shot 8-under 64 in the third round on Saturday at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Oregon to enter the final round at a tournament-record 19-under 197, three clear of 36-hole leader and 2019 major winner Hannah Green, who shot 73 in the third round.
Two-time event winner Brooke Henderson and Brittany Altomare are tied for third, five back of the Californian teen.
The 18-year-old Noh Monday qualified for this event, and with a win on Sunday, she would join Brooke Henderson (2015 Cambia Portland LPGA Classic) and Laurel Kean (2000 State Farm LPGA Classic) as the only open qualifiers to win in LPGA history.
“I was hoping for a good week, but to be in contention, I'm really excited,” said Noh, who turned pro in January 2019 after turning down an opportunity to play collegiate golf on scholarship. “Yesterday, too, I was just like, I couldn't really sleep. I was excited to come out and try to move on moving day.”
Noh has bounced around tours in limited starts in 2019, playing twice on the Symetra Tour, then in the Korean Open on the Korean LPGA Tour. However, since finishing T-6 in the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, Noh has made four consecutive starts on the LPGA. She comes into the final round after a successful junior career, including a 2018 in which she won the Girl’s Junior PGA Championship, US Girls’ Junior Championship and Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship in consecutive weeks.
“I'm just really excited to play tomorrow,” said Noh. “I'm just hoping I won't get too nervous coming down the stretch. I'm just excited to play.”
With a win on Sunday, she could take up immediate LPGA membership or defer the two-year exemption until the start of the 2020 season.
“It would change my entire like, year, my life," Noh said. "That would just be a dream come true.”