Salome wins; Krafft nearly forces playoff in US Junior Amateur Qualifier - Albuquerque Journal

Salome wins; Krafft nearly forces playoff in US Junior Amateur Qualifier

Rylee Salome of Belen won the U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier at UNM Championship Golf Course on Tuesday. (Steve Virgen/Journal)

As Belen’s Rylee Salome walked toward the No. 1 tee box at UNM Championship Golf Course, she became nervous on Tuesday while competing in a playoff to win the U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier and the lone available spot to advance.

However, she said her caddy, Alice Rindestig of the UNM women’s golf team, helped calm her down. Rindestig, who is from Sweden, asked Salome about her favorite movie and other topics not closely related to golf to ease her emotions.

Salome, 15, who is homeschooled and won the Class 4A state individual championship for Belen High last month, birdied the playoff par-5 No. 1 hole, and Nicole Iniakov of Prunedale, California parred.

Salome’s third shot was from the edge of the bunker about 70 feet away from the cup. She had to lean and hit the ball from an angle. She hit it over the bunker and onto the green where the ball rolled and hit the pin. She tapped it in for the birdie, her father, Pat, said.

“I was a little nervous going into that playoff hole, but after the tee shot I kind of calmed down and just played,” Salome said. “Once I got going I thought it was just another hole.”

Salome, the Journal’s Athlete of the Year for girls golf, is set to play in the U.S. Junior Amateur July 18-23 at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

That is a tight schedule for Salome, who is also set to compete in the Girls Junior America’s Cup team event July 24-28 at Green Meadow Country Club in Helena, Montana. Salome and her family, including her mother, Melissa, were still undecided about what to do next month, either play both events or just one.

Salome is no stranger to Kentucky. Last year, she played at the Junior PGA Championship at Valhalla in Louisville after she had won the qualifier at UNM Championship.

Salome and Iniakov shot 2-over 74 in regulation on Tuesday.

Farmington’s Quinn Yost, after withdrawing from the tournament with an injury, becomes the caddy for Albuquerque’s Aiden Krafft during the U.S. Junior Amateur at the University of New Mexico’s Championship Golf Course. (Chancey Bush/ Albuquerque Journal)

BOYS: Aidan Krafft, the Class 5A state champ and the Journal’s Athlete of the Year for boys golf, nearly forced a playoff with Michael Behr of San Diego in the U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier at UNM Championship.

His eagle putt from about 12 feet on No. 18 burned the edge and settled inches from the cup. Krafft, who shot even on the front nine, carded a 5-under 67, one shot behind Behr, who finished as the medalist and won the lone spot to play in the U.S. Junior Amateur July 25-30 at Bandon Dunes in Oregon. Krafft is an alternate.

“The last putt looked like it was going to fall right in the center, but it just kind of stayed there and then moved to the left side of the hole,” Krafft said. “That was a heartbreaker.”

Still, Krafft, a Cibola High graduate who has committed to Oregon, was proud that he played a good round and got hot on the back nine to put himself into contention. He had a handful of birdie putts that either lipped out or burned the edge. In total, Krafft felt that he was “four inches” from winning.

Behr, a recent The Bishop’s School graduate who will play for University of San Diego, said he chose to play in Albuquerque because he believed it would be a better chance to earn a qualifying spot than trying in San Diego. Last year, he shot 3-over at a U.S. Junior Am qualifier in San Diego and did not come close to any of the four qualifying spots.

Before No. 18, Behr said he found out a bit more about Krafft, who Behr referred to as “that one guy.”

“I heard he shot a 60 like a month ago in his high school state tournament,” Behr, 18, said. “I knew I had to birdie on 18. He ran at me on the back nine.”

Krafft also won the Hale Irwin Junior Tournament, an American Junior Golf Association event that concluded Thursday, by three shots at 12-under 204 (65-69-70), the tournament course record, at Walnut Creek in Westminster, Colorado. He also had the lowest first-round score tournament history that spans 19 years.

Quinn Yost, the 2021 Class 5A state champion who finished 12 shots behind Krafft for second place at the state event last month, served as Krafft’s caddy on Tuesday. Yost, a Piedra Vista graduate who will play college golf at Nebraska, said he had left shoulder pain that forced him to sit out.

Krafft and Yost are scheduled to play in the Junior America’s Cup at The Club at Ruby Hill in Pleasanton, California, July 31-Aug. 4. The event is in its 50th year.

Home » From the newspaper » Salome wins; Krafft nearly forces playoff in US Junior Amateur Qualifier


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Lobo women's hoops staff undergoes several changes
College
Keith Freeman showed up in Albuquerque ... Keith Freeman showed up in Albuquerque this week with much to learn and eager to get started. He spent Wednesday afternoon prepping for his ...
2
Briefs: Amateur golf, Gladiators football, youth soccer
Featured Sports
Aidan Thomas, the former St. Pius ... Aidan Thomas, the former St. Pius standout who will be a junior at New Mexico State, shot a 10-under par-62, bogey-free round Friday and ...
3
Virgen: Two NM stars and what might have been ...
Featured Sports
About a year ago, Aidan Krafft ... About a year ago, Aidan Krafft of Cibola High and Quinn Yost of Piedra Vista might have had Cherry a ...
4
United expects defensive battle vs. 'really talented' Birmingham
Featured Sports
Birmingham has won three straight, holds ... Birmingham has won three straight, holds a playoff position and is coming off a win over Eastern Conference-leading Memphis
5
UNM has its three opponents for November's Lobo Classic
College
UNM's first in-season home tournament in ... UNM's first in-season home tournament in 15 years to be held Nov. 25-27 at the Pit
6
UNM law grad Shapiro balances academics, big-time Ironman competitions
Featured Sports
Whatever Athena Shapiro does at the ... Whatever Athena Shapiro does at the World Triathlon Championships on Saturday in Montreal, it will be hard to top what she accomplished in a ...
7
Stewart, Cey, Moots going into ABQ Pro Baseball Hall ...
ABQnews Seeker
Two World Series MVPs and the ... Two World Series MVPs and the creator of the Albuquerque Dukes logo will be inducted into the Albuquerque Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.
8
Combat sports notes: 'Cowboy' tries again, to fight on ...
Boxing/MMA
Edgewood resident Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, denied ... Edgewood resident Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, denied a fight by food poisoning in May and by a freak in ...
9
UNM creates 'Howl for Her' campaign for women athletic ...
ABQnews Seeker
University of New Mexico Athletics said ... University of New Mexico Athletics said Thursday it has launched a “Howl for Her” campaign that will raise funds specifically for Lobo women’s athletics. ...