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UNLV golfer Veronica Joels wins Utah Women’s Open, former BYU golfer Lea Garner is low professional for $2,000 check

Joels, who is from Las Vegas, shot a 6-under-par 66 on Tuesday to soar past first-round leader Kerstin Fotu of BYU

UNLV golfer Veronica Joels won the Utah Women’s Open after shooting a 6-under 66 in the final round Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, at Thanksgiving Point Golf Club.
Randy Dodson, Fairways Media

LEHI — Because she’s still an amateur, Veronica Joels of Las Vegas won’t be able to claim the winner’s check of $2,000 after winning the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Women’s Open on Tuesday, but the victory will look good on the UNLV golfer’s resume.

Joels, who will be a junior this fall, made seven birdies en route to a 6-under-par 66 in Tuesday’s final round at Thanksgiving Point Golf Club for a 36-hole total of 5-under 139 and won the tournament by three strokes over former BYU golfer Lea Garner, a professional.

Garner, who finished the tournament at 2-under after Tuesday’s 70, wins the $2,000 as the low professional for the third time in the four-year history of the event. Joels’ name goes on the silver trophy as the champion.

Former BYU golfer Lea Garner won the low professional, and $2,000 prize, for the third time at the Utah Women’s Open on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, at Thanksgiving Point Golf Club.
Randy Dodson, Fairways Media

Joels’ lone hiccup was a bogey on the par-4 16th hole, but she rebounded with birdies on 17 and 18 to win going away. She started her round with four birdies on the easier front nine to quickly overtake first-round leader Kerstin Fotu, a BYU golfer.

Fotu finished in a tie for third place with Sacramento State golfer Tess Blair (a Bingham High product) and Bryce Emily Schroeder, a pro from Tempe, Arizona, who bounced back from Monday’s 75 with a solid 68 to climb the leaderboard.

BYU golfer Naomi Soifua finished in a five-way tie for sixth with Katrina Prendergast of Sparks, Nevada, former Weber State golfer Kiselya Plewe, Salt Lake City pro Haley Sturgeon and Ali Mulhall, a 15-year-old from Henderson, Nevada.

Several of the top female golfers with Utah ties are playing in the U.S. Women’s Amateur in Maryland this week. However, Tuesday’s second round of stroke-play qualifying was postponed due to inclement weather.