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Coronado’s Yana Wilson wins US Junior Girls’ golf title

Yana Wilson won the biggest prize in American girl’s golf over the weekend, opening up a treasure trove of tournaments for the 15-year-old from Henderson.

Wilson captured the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, winning the 36-hole title match 3 and 2 over Gianna Clemente at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The win gets Wilson into next summer’s U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach, the next two U.S. Women’s Amateurs, a likely invitation to the 2023 Augusta National Women’s Amateur, and exemptions into all future U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships for which she is eligible.

Not bad for someone just heading into their junior year at Coronado High School.

“It means a lot,” Wilson said of the title. “I kind of looked at the boards that they have walking up to hole 1, and I saw a lot of the girls that had won the U.S. Girls Junior and U.S. Open, and they have really become legends.”

It’s a list that includes Hall of Famers Amy Alcott, Nancy Lopez, Mickey Wright and current LPGA stars Minjee Lee, Ariya Jutanagarn and Inbee Park.

“Hopefully one day I can join them,” she added.

Wilson will be joining the current stars at Pebble Beach next summer, something she hadn’t wrapped her mind around over the weekend.

“It’s insane. It’s honestly unreal,” Wilson said. “Nothing has really sunk in yet.”

To play on golf’s biggest stage, Wilson will need to adopt the same formula that worked so well at Olde Stone, where she broke open a tight championship match on the final nine.

“I didn’t really treat my back nine as if it was an actual match,” she said. “I was just trying to hit fairways and hit greens and just roll them in like I do in practice. So I just kind of carried that mentality on with me.”

Big wins on big stages are nothing new for Wilson. She is a two-time champion of the Drive, Pitch & Putt competition at Augusta National, winning as both a 12- and 13-year-old. She also took down current Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion Anna Davis at the Annika Invitational in Orlando, Florida, in the spring.

The Girls’ Junior — and all the perks that come with it — takes things to a new level.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I’m really excited.”

PGA Tour playing cards

It was a big weekend for Las Vegas players securing their 2023 playing privileges on the PGA Tour.

With a second-place finish Sunday at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship, Taylor Montgomery moved to seventh on the season points list and passed the points threshold to secure his PGA Tour card for next season.

It’s a big moment for Montgomery, who finished 26th in last year’s standings and 26th in the playoffs — one spot shy on both lists of earning his card.

“No longer the bubble boy this year,” he said in a video on the tour’s Twitter account. “We’re tour bound.”

Montgomery’s UNLV teammate, Harry Hall, nearly joined him Sunday. Needing a tie for seventh to reach the magical 875-point threshold, Hall tied for eighth and now stands eight points from a guaranteed PGA Tour card. He is 16th on the points list with two events remaining. Simply making a cut in either event should be enough for Hall to also be tour bound.

And although they didn’t have the final rounds they wanted, both Scott Piercy and Doug Ghim did enough at the 3M Open to move into a secure position inside the top 125 on the FedEx Cup points list to retain their playing cards for next season.

Piercy, who led after all of the first three rounds, shot 76 on Sunday and tied for fourth. But it moved him from 138th to 112th in the standings. Ghim played in the final threesome Sunday, but his 77 dropped him into a tie for 16th. He did, however, jump to 111th on the points list.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.

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