Three tied for lead at Girls Junior PGA Championship

Montana Pritchard/PGA of America

Three tied for lead at Girls Junior PGA Championship

Junior

Three tied for lead at Girls Junior PGA Championship

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ST. ALBANS, Mo. – A hot day produced hot scores.

Hailee Cooper overcame potential disaster in the middle of her second round at the Girls Junior PGA Championship to fire a 2-under 70.

At 10 under, Cooper had retained her overnight two-shot lead after the morning wave finished. But the afternoon group wasn’t going to let Cooper run away.

Rose Zhang posted the round of the day, a 7-under 65, to reach a share of the lead late. Yealimi Noh came in even later at 10 under but nonetheless got there to make it a three-way tie through 36 holes at the Country Club of St. Albans.

And if you’re wondering whether these players are feeling the pressure in this sweltering heat with two days to go..

“I don’t really want to think about the lead,” Noh said. “I’m just excited to play good golf with friends.”

That’s the spirit.

It may have helped Wednesday that the weather seemed to cool down ever so slightly.

Cooper, of Montgomery, Texas, said she was already soaked in sweat on the practice range before her opening round Tuesday – she shot a tournament record-tying 64 anyway – but she wasn’t really sweating until the third or fourth hole of her second round.

Not that it was a total reprieve.

“It’s like the sun’s beating down on you worse (here),” Cooper said.

Cooper, No. 8 in the Class of 2018 by the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, made two birdies before a triple bogey at No. 1 (her 10th). She salvaged the round with three late birdies.

Zhang, meanwhile, eagled No. 2 and was 6 under for the day through 11 after four birdies on top of that. Another birdie on 16 sealed her 65.

“To shoot the best round of my career is spectacular,” said Zhang, of Irvine, Calif., and No. 1 in the Class of 2021. “I left some putts on the course, but overall I played really well.”

Noh, starting on No. 10, was 1 under for her round before birdies at Nos. 2, 3, 8 and 9 interspersed with a bogey. The Concord, Calif., product is ranked third in the Class of 2019.

Sophie Guo and Lauren Beaudreau are tied for fourth at 8 under. Defending champion Lucy Li sits T-11 at 6 under following a second-round 70.

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