SANTA ANA PUEBLO — At the start of the second round of the New Mexico-West Texas Women’s Amateur Championship, University of New Mexico sophomore Annie Saecheung asked Rylee Salomé what year of school she was in. was.
Salome innocently replied, “Sophomore”.
Saecheung assumed that Salome meant second in college because Salome wore a New Mexico State golf shirt.
Well, Salome, a 15-year-old high school sophomore who is homeschooled, could have easily been mistaken for a college golfer because of the way she played at Santa Ana Golf Club on Saturday. Salome shot a 2-under bogey-free 70 to climb to the top of the standings and take a three-shot lead in Sunday’s final round, an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start in Santa Ana. Salomé was the only one to beat the par on Saturday.
“I felt really confident today,” said Salome, who also shot a no-bogey 2 under to win the Class 4A state golf title for Belen High in Santa Ana in May. “I just felt like I was putting really well.”
Salome, who entered the second round three shots behind leaders Sophia Zamarripa and KayLinda Crawford, birdied the 497-yard, par-5 No. 3 hole on the Tamaya course and her 11th hole, which was the 377-yard, par-4 No 2 holes on the Cheena course.
“I think Rylee played really well today,” said Saecheung, who shot 3 more times just like she did in the first round at Twin Warriors Golf Course. “She had a real solid ride. I, on the other hand, had a few mishaps here and there, but I kept my cool. I had no birdies today. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. »
Crawford, the 2021 Sun Country Senior Women’s Amateur Player of the Year and 2020 NM-WT Amateur Champion, shot 4 times and is three shots behind Salome. Zamarripa, a former Sandia High standout and UNM sophomore, shot 5 times and is tied with roommate Saecheung, four shots behind Salome.
Crawford’s round included four outings that caused her regret, but she was thrilled to be in contention and expressed her excitement for competing in the event.
“(This tournament is) awesome,” said Crawford, who played college golf at Texas Tech from 1984-1988. It is truly an honor to play with young and great players.
Salome appears to be on her way to becoming an NCAA Division I golfer. Her father, Pat, said he hopes his daughter has options for where to play in college.
Pat, who is caddying for Rylee in the tournament, is an NMSU alumnus who earned undergraduate degrees in economics and accounting and a master’s degree in economics at UNM rival Las Cruces University. He said he retired in 2015 after 28 years as Socorro town manager so he could spend more time with his family and watch his daughter compete.
“I felt like if I kept working when I didn’t really need to, I would miss watching her,” Pat Salome said. “It was the right time for me to retire considering my daughter’s age. If I were to miss his game, it would be my fault.
Rylee said she wore the NMSU gear on Saturday because it was something she chose as pro-shop credit after winning the Sun Country Women’s Spring Stroke Play on March 27 at NMSU Golf Course.
She got a taste of college-style competition on Saturday with her group, which included Zamarripa, Saecheung and Crawford.
“They are all very high level players,” said Salomé, who finished fourth at last year’s NM-WT Amateur. “They were all really good. It was almost like a college tournament. It helped me for the road ahead.