Westview's Melinee Udom is entered to play in a U.S. Women's Open Qualifier in Seattle on April 30. (Photo by Jesse Udom)
Westview's Melinee Udom is entered to play in a U.S. Women's Open Qualifier in Seattle on April 30. (Photo by Jesse Udom)

Despite having two older cousins playing Division I women's college golf, Melinee Udom had little interest in the sport as a young girl, instead investing her time in gymnastics and weightlifting.

But all that changed during the COVID shutdown in 2020, when Udom was a fifth-grader.

“I was really focused on Olympic weightlifting because the year before that, I placed at nationals, and I was really motivated to do better the next year,” said Udom, now a freshman at Westview. “But that was canceled due to COVID, so I switched to golf.”

Udom spent her days practicing and playing with Alexa and Momo Udom, who graduated from Westview in 2020 and 2022 and now play at Brigham Young and Portland State, respectively.

“I definitely learned a lot from them,” said Udom, whose personal coach is her uncle Charlie, the father of Alexa and Momo. “That's why I improved so fast.”

Udom took off like a rocket, rising to become the Oregon Junior Golf Association girls player of the year in 2023. And now, in her first season of high school golf, she is dominating.

Udom has won all four Metro League tournaments, shooting an average score of 71.0. She fired a 3-under 69 on April 8 at the Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club and followed with a 1-under 70 on April 15 at Pumpkin Ridge.

“Her talent is way beyond freshman,” Westview coach Paul Gouldsbrough said. “It's as good as it gets in high school, if not some of the college players. She's just one of those rare talents. There's no doubt she's one of the top two or three in the state.”

The 5-foot-3 Udom blows away the competition with her power off the tee. She typically drives the ball 270 to 285 yards.

“If I catch it good, it can go 290, 300,” said Udom, whose personal-best round was a 6-under 66 at Desert Princess in Palm Springs (Calif.).

How much does she attribute her power to the weight training from her youth, when as a 98-pounder she recorded 105 pounds in the clean and jerk.

“I definitely think that helped,” Udom said. “When I play out of state, I'm usually the longest hitter by 30, 40 yards. That gives me a big advantage.”

It puts Udom in a league of her own. The Metro is one of the state's top leagues, but Udom has won the four tournaments by seven, three, eight and seven strokes.

“She's so much longer off the tee, she could probably play in the boys league, to be honest,” Gouldsbrough said. “She's putting wedges in her hand for second shots. Anytime you put a wedge in a player's hands, that are of that caliber, they're putting it close to the pin and giving themselves birdie chances.

“She's not hitting it all over the place. It's down the middle, generally.”

Udom excelled on the Oregon junior circuit last summer, winning the Eastern Oregon Junior Championship at Buffalo Peak, Peter Jacobsen Junior Challenge at Trysting Tree and Oregon Junior Stroke Play Championship at Chehalem Glenn. In the latter, she shot even-par to win the 54-hole tournament by six strokes.

Udom will get a big test April 30 when she plays in a U.S. Women's Open Qualifier at Rainier Golf and Country Club in Seattle.

“I definitely just want to gain experience because I'm playing with a bunch of amazing golfers,” Udom said. “It would be great if I could qualify, but I'm just going to try to play to the best of my ability. It's 36 holes, so it's going to be pretty tiring.”

Udom hopes to finish off her freshman high school season with a 6A individual title. She could match her cousin, Alexa, who shared the 6A title in 2018.

Udom believes her game is trending up after shooting 71 ad 74 in her first two tournaments.

“Honestly, it started out a tiny bit rough,” she said. “There were definitely things I could've done better. I think the past two tournaments I've kind of shown what I can do through tough conditions.

“I'm starting to play a little bit better than the beginning of the season, but I definitely think I can do a lot better. My putting is just OK. If I can make a lot more putts, then I can go a lot lower.”

Highlights from the past week:


Clackamas freshman Jessi Tontag won a Mt. Hood Conference tournament at Columbia Edgewater on Wednesday, shooting a 4-over 75. … Wilsonville dominated a Northwest Oregon Conference tournament at Stone Creek on Tuesday, outscoring runner-up La Salle Prep 337-418 behind the top two finishers, sophomores Layla Sidhu (77) and Evie Dunn (78). … Newberg senior Gabby Zielsdorf fired a 78 to win by one stroke over Forest Grove's Trinity Johnson and McMinnville's Mabel Findley in a Pacific Conference tournament on Tuesday at The Reserve Vineyards. …

Salem Academy took first place in the 13-team Mallard Creek Invitational on Monday, shooting 349 to beat second-place Nelson (376). Salem Academy's Chloe Johnston (80) and Alexandra Willcoxen (84) finished 1-2. … Senior Jill Potter (77) and junior Sylvia Czarnecki (79) placed 1-2 to lead Sheldon to first place in a Southwest Conference tournament Monday at Eugene Country Club. Sheldon shot 341 to win by six strokes over Grants Pass.


Summit pulled away to win the 5A State Preview on Wednesday at Quail Valley. The Storm shot 304 to beat Wilsonville (322), Glencoe (323) and Newberg (323). Summit senior Jakob Hansen (71), who carded an eagle on the 474-yard, par-five 10th hole, defeated freshman teammate Bryden Ditty (73) for medalist honors. The Storm's other top scorers were Bryce Grieb (79), Owen Harper (81) and Rooks Maxwell (81). Wilsonville junior Michael Flaherty finished third at 74. … Summit also won the 12-team Lava Bear Open on Monday at Bend Golf Club. Grieb (74) won the tournament by one stroke over Hansen as the Storm outscored second-place Mountain View 305-320. …

Jesuit won a Metro League tournament on Tuesday at Pumpkin Ridge, shooting 296 to beat Westview (302) and Mountainside (304). Crusaders senior Mason Zimmerman fired a 72 to win by one stroke over Mountainside freshman Kai Hang, Jesuit senior Grady Brown and Westview senior Andy Yang. … Molalla junior Massimo Cereghino continued his hot play, shooting a 5-under 67 to win the nine-team Mallard Creek Invitational on Monday. Cereghino had an eagle on the par-four 16th hole. The previous week, he shot a 6-under 65 to win the North Marion Invitational at Langdon Farms. … Brookings-Harbor junior Lucas Vanderlip finished with a 2-over 73 to win an eight-team tournament at Bandon Dunes on Thursday. ...

Sherwood's Cohen Gladheim shot a 4-under 68 to win by four strokes over Newberg's Ray Greller and Glencoe's Brody Landaker in a Pacific Conference tournament Monday at The Reserve Vineyards. Sherwood (297) and Glencoe (317) were the top teams. … Crescent Valley edged Corvallis 333-338 to win a Mid-Willamette Conference tournament at Corvallis Golf Club on Monday, led by the medalist, Cole Rivers (74). ... Cascade senior Kyler Hemelstrand shot a 74 to beat North Bend's Owen Bascom by two strokes for the title in the 11-team Bar Run Marshfield Invitational on Monday. Cascade shot 335 for first place over Sheldon (346).