Three golfers from New Jersey and a 12-year-old from Pennsylvania earned berths in the upcoming U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship by shooting 74 or better among a field of 49 in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship Sectional Qualifying Round on Thursday, June 21, at the par-70, 5,976- yard Old York Country Club in Chesterfield.
Kelly Sim of Edgewater, the defending NJSGA Women’s Amateur champion, claimed medalist honors with a 1-over-par 71, one shot better than Yoona Kim of Fair Lawn. Megha Ganne of Holmdel and 12-year-old Sydney Yermish of Wynnewood, Pa., both shot 74 to earn the final two qualifying spots. Alternate spots went to Tania Nunez Hernandez of Mexico (1st alternate) and Ananya Barthakur of India (2nd alternate) who both bested Hartley Zook of Flemington in a playoff. The three had tied at 76. The event was conducted by the New Jersey State Golf Association.
The U.S. Girls’ Junior takes place at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif, July 16-21.
For Sim, 18, it marked the fourth time she has qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior. Her best showing came in 2015 when she reached the second round of match-play. Her only other appearance in a USGA event came in 2017 when she was a member of the New Jersey team in the 2017 USGA Women's State Team Championship along with Tara Fleming of New Jersey National and Noelle Maertz of Ridgewood.
This spring, Sim, playing for the Academy of Holy Angels, captured her third New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Tournament of Champions title in four years when she shot 5-under-par 67 at Royce Brook Golf Club. Last year, she recorded her best round ever of 8-under-par 64 in the AJGA Junior at Fiddler’s Elbow. In that event, Sim, who plays out of Alpine Country Club, tied the girl’s AJGA 54-hole record with a 16-under-par 200
The Northwestern University-bound golfer is a Rolex Junior All-American and Transamerica Scholastic Honor Roll member. She will compete in the AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic at Echo Lake Country Club in Westfield, June 25-29.
“I had a practice round here yesterday and the way the course is laid out made me uncomfortable. I wasn’t able to use my driver off the tee a lot because I had to lay up. I called my teammate at Holy Angels, Olivia Yu, to caddie for me so she could keep me calm and I would be less stressed,” Sim said.
“The course was playing pretty long because of all the hills. I was just trying to stay out of trouble. In a one-day tournament, I find that’s the best way to go.”
Kim, 16, is a rising junior at Immaculate Heart Academy in Bergen County. She will be competing in her third U.S. Girls’ Junior, but has yet to make the cut. Kim, who plays at Hackensack Golf Club, recently played in the U.S. Women’s Four-Ball championship with Katie Lee of Ringoes. In April, she won her first AJGA event in York, Pa.
Ganne, 14, will be a freshman at Holmdel High School. She plays at Colts Neck Golf Club and has an impressive resume for someone her age. She qualified last year for both the U.S. Girls’ Junior and the U.S. Women’s Amateur and played in the U.S. Women’s Four-Ball this year with Bailey Shoemaker of New York.
Ganne has also qualified for the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Yermish, a three handicap who plays out of Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pa., will be an eighth-grader this fall in Lower Merion, Pa. She qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior in her first attempt.