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updated: 10/19/2013 7:07 PM

Neuqua's Yuen outduels Waubonsie's Singhsumalee for state title

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

FORSYTH, Ill. -- Jessica Yuen and Bing Singhsumalee simply switched roles on the second day of the Class AA girls golf state finals.

One day after the latter was the lone player in the field to not record a bogey or worse, Yuen, who tied for runner-up last year as a Neuqua Valley freshman, was unblemished in overcoming a 5-shot deficit to win the first individual state championship in school history in the sport.

Yuen had birdies on two of her opening three holes and added the coup de grace on the par-3 16th hole at Hickory Point Golf Course Saturday afternoon to conclude a 3-under 69.

Singhsumalee, the Waubonsie Valley reigning state amateur champion, and overnight leader Isabelle Kane of Loyola were 4 shots back of Yuen for second place.

"I think this is my first bogey-free round," said Yuen, who came into the day at plus-1 for the tournament.

Neuqua Valley coach John Keller had a simple message for his star sophomore after play on Friday.

"She was telling me that she thinks about her score when playing," Keller said. "I told her, 'You can't play like that.' After the third hole she goes from 5 back to tied (when Kane triple-bogeyed the same hole). She didn't have any struggles today."

The key moment for Yuen in crafting her flawless round came at the eighth hole when a long tee shot nestled in the rough behind the green.

But Yuen chipped to within 15 feet and calmly sank the putt to save par.

Singhsumalee, who fired a 70 on Friday, and Yuen were tied after leaving the green.

But Yuen took the lead, never to surrender it in the process, when Singhsumalee 3-puttted the ninth green.

"I think that (par save) was the turnaround for me," Yuen said. "No bogeys on the back (nine).

Singhsumalee never threatened after three bogeys midway through her inward nine.

"I didn't come out and perform like I wanted to," said Singhsumalee, who finished with a long par putt on No. 18 to salvage a second-round 76. "I'm happy for Jess. I was trying to stay consistent. My speed (on the greens) wasn't catching on today."

"We're really good friends," Yuen said of her playing companion from her sister school.

Making its first state appearance as a team in 13 years, Naperville North finished seventh as senior Taylor Arenson finished with an all-state weekend.

Arenson backed up a first-round 75 with a 77 in the trying conditions to finish tied for eighth.

"I was just trying to play hard, because it was my last time playing (in high school)," Arenson said. "It was tough out there with the wind. My putter was my weakest part. (On Friday) I was making some bombs."

Prospect had the low final-round team score to reverse a 4-shot Loyola lead and claim its second state championship in three years.

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