Lilly DeNunzio was the only player to post an under-par score as she fired a one-under-par 71 to earn low medalist honors in the 2022 U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Sectional Qualifying. Brynn Kort survived a playoff to also advance. –By Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider
The one-day event was held June 16, 2022, at Reflection Bay Golf Club. DeNunzio is a member of the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association and she and Kort play for Coronado High.
With their finishes, DeNunzio and Kort advance to the 2022 U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship, which will be held July 18-23, 2022, at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, KY.
Kort advanced to the national event finals as she won a three-way playoff for the second and final spot, beating Riana Mission and Kacey Ly. That left Mission as the first alternate with Ly in the second alternate spot.
DeNunzio, who will be a senior at Coronado High School this fall and who has made an oral commitment to BYU, birdied four of her final seven holes (to go along with two bogeys and a par) to rally for the title.
“The whole round was kind of a roller coaster ride,” she said with a laugh. “I had some good pars and some of them were hard up-and-downs.”
She said the day didn’t get off to the greatest of starts.
“I hit a good drive on the first hole and then hit a wedge right into the water,” she said. “So, I started off with a double and that wasn’t great.”
But, she didn’t let it bother her.
“It was just the first hole,” she said. “There were 17 more and I knew I would make birdies.”
And she did just that, putting six on the scorecard including on the second and third holes right after her double bogey.
“I just tried to keep a level head,” she said. “In my last AJGA event I didn’t and I told myself to just stay focused and not get too high or too low.”
Now it’s on to the national spotlight.
“I’m definitely super-happy with today,” she said. “It just shows that everything is going well and the hard work is paying off.”
But, she feels there’s work to be done on her game.
“I still want to get better with my chipping,” she said. “Today I was a little off. I just need to practice a little on different greens and different types of grass.”
She’s also focused on the mental side of the game.
“I just want to play my game,” she said of her approach to the trip to the national event. “I want to keep a level head and not let my emotions get involved.”