Moriyama, Smith, Goldstein Qualify for U.S. Junior Amateur
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (June 29, 2017)–Yuki Moriyama carded seven birdies during a round of 6-under-par 65 to win the boys division of the 2017 USGA Junior Amateur Qualifier held June 28, 2017 at Las Vegas National Golf Club. Sydney Smith fired a one-over-par 72 to win the girls division. Another Las Vegas resident, Morgan Goldstein, won a Utah qualifier event and made the national tournament. – By Bill Bowman.
Moriyama, who had just one bogey on the day, won the boys division by four strokes. He birdied four of the first five holes and had a five-under-par 31 score on the front nine and coasted to the victory.
Moriyama, who lives in San Diego, was in Japan earlier in the week competing in an event and flew into Vegas on Tuesday and battled not only the course, but jet lag. “I’m a little tired,” he said. “But I played a strong round. I had 27 putts and just 13 putts on the first nine. I made some nice putts for pars and birdies on the back that helped me. I’m pretty excited.”
In the girl’s division, Smith was four-over-par through 11 holes before posting three birdies over the final seven holes to come away with the win. She defeated Annick Haczkiewicz by two shots.
Smith, who was competing in the qualifier for the third year, admitted she struggled early. “I didn’t get off to a great start at all,” she said. “My putting wasn’t good. I three-putted the first hole so that wasn’t good at all.”
She did get it turned around. “I figured I needed to hit it closer or putt better,” she said with a laugh. “And on the back, I did both. My best friend and neighbor, Julia Becker, caddied for me and kept me motivated and focused on the shots at hand. It kind of all fell into place.”
Both Moriyama and Smith qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championships. Goldstein shot 72 to win a qualifier on June 20 at Hidden Valley Country Club in Sandy, Utah.
The boys will be play July 17-22 at Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan., while the girls will play July 24-29 at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo.
Luis Carrera and Brett Sodetz are the boys alternates while Annick Haczkiewicz and Jasmine Lew are the girls alternates.
Yuki Moriyama, 65
Luis Carrera, 69
Brett Sodetz, 70
Charlie Magruder, 70
Sutthinun Sinsuntites, 72
Sydney Smith, 72
Annick Haczkiewicz, 74
Jasmine Lew, 75
Crystle Querol, 75
Nicole Lu, 76
Morgan Goldstein, 72