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Henderson golfer wraps up decorated junior career in style

While Nelly Korda was wrapping up her sixth victory on the LPGA Tour this season at Mizuho Americas Open on Sunday, Henderson’s Yana Wilson was right there beside her trying to nail down the amateur portion of the unique tournament.

Wilson, who won the event in 2023, fell just short in her attempt to repeat, tying for second, two points back in the modified Stableford scoring system.

Still, it was a joyous event for Wilson, last year’s American Junior Golf Association player of the year. She was reflective during the week, knowing it might have been the final junior event of her career.

“It’s been such a fun ride. I’m obviously going to miss it so much,” Wilson said. “Junior golf has taught me a lot about myself and a lot about my game. I’m just really grateful to have gone through it all with the AJGA.”

There’s plenty ahead for Wilson, who is following two paths in 2024. The first takes her to the University of Oregon as a freshman in the fall. The second takes her to LPGA Q-School, where she can chase her playing card and maintain her amateur status unless she reaches the final stage in December.

She’s also headed to France this summer to play in the Evian Championship, the year’s fourth LPGA major and her second major of 2024, having already teed it up at the Chevron Championship in April.

“Evian will be unreal,” Wilson said. “I’ve heard only good things, and I’m just so excited to tee it up over there in France.”

Reputation deserved

The PGA Championship is considered at the bottom of the four major championships, and the reasons were on full display last week. Yes, there was an exciting finish, and Xander Schauffele has every reason to be proud of his accomplishment.

But the tournament looks like any other stop on the PGA Tour, played this year on a Valhalla Golf Club course without any memorable holes. Tournament officials also did little with the course setup to make it more challenging.

Schauffele, who moved from Las Vegas this year, and Shane Lowry shot 62s during the week. The champion set a major championship record of 21-under 263. The cut came at 1 under, often good enough to win at the U.S. Open or British Open.

The field set a championship record by finishing 214 under par. That’s a number that broke the previous mark by 254 strokes.

While U.S. Open officials often go over the line in tricking up a course for difficulty, it’s well past time for the PGA to give its event a more major feel.

Las Vegas players struggle

Final qualifying for the U.S. Open began this week with the first three of 13 events taking place Monday. Players are fighting for 73 open spots in the national championship.

Las Vegas players didn’t fare well in one of the largest qualifiers in Dallas, where 11 spots were available. None of the six Southern Nevadans came close, meaning Scott Piercy, Ryan Moore, Harry Hall, Nick Watney and LIV players Kevin Na and Danny Lee will not be at Pinehurst next month.

Just three Las Vegas players — Collin Morikawa, Kurt Kitayama and Min Woo Lee — are among the 83 players exempt into the tournament set for June 13 to 16.

Tough debut

UNLV junior Toa Yokoyama struggled playing with the pros, missing the cut at 13 over in the Epson Tour’s Copper Rock Championship outside St. George, Utah.

In a field loaded with LPGA Tour veterans, Fiona Xu, 19, ran away from the field and shattered the Epson Tour scoring record by finishing at 22 under over three rounds.

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

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