Girls Junior PGA championship: Rose Zhang maintains lead, Alexa Pano shoots 63

Darren Carroll/PGA of America

Girls Junior PGA championship: Rose Zhang maintains lead, Alexa Pano shoots 63

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Girls Junior PGA championship: Rose Zhang maintains lead, Alexa Pano shoots 63

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Rose Zhang will enter the final round of the Girls Junior PGA Championship seeking to become the eighth golfer to win the event more than once.

Zhang shot a 2-under 68 in Thursday’s third round at Keney Park Golf Course in Hartford, Conn.

“I felt like it wasn’t my best day out there, but conditions were a little different from the first two days,” Zhang said in a statement released by the PGA of America. “I kept patient on the course. It was very hard to make birdies, but I tried not to get down on myself.”

Zhang parred the front nine on Thursday, and then posted birdies on Nos. 10, 12 and 14.

“It was a very neutral round on the front nine,” said the 16-year-old high school junior-to-be, who is committed to Stanford. “I pulled a couple of my drives on holes 10 and 11 but hit a long (30-foot) birdie on 10. There were swirling winds on a lot of the holes. The par 3s were challenging – deciding which clubs to hit was tough. Overall, executing shots was different in the wind.”

Yuka Saso of the Philippines trails Zhang by one stroke. Jensen Castle of West Columbia, S.C., is in third, three strokes back of the lead. Melanie Green of Medina, N.Y. is fourth, four shots back, and Megha Ganne of Holmdel, N.J., is in fifth, five shots back.

SCORES: Girls Junior PGA Championship

Alexa Pano watches her tee shot at the 11th hole during the third round of the 44th Girls Junior PGA Championship at Keney Park Golf Course in Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Darren Carroll/PGA of America)

The low round of the day was posted by 14-year-old Alexa Pano of Lake Worth, Fla.

She had eight birdies and one bogey, which came on her final hole. She’s currently tied for eighth place with Sara Im, seven strokes back.

“The whole day, I finally got the putts to start dropping,” said Pano. “I had been sticking it all week but couldn’t get anything to fall. I made nearly everything, except for one putt today (on No. 18).”

Zhang is aiming to join this group of golfers who won multiple Girls Junior PGA titles: Heather Farr (1980, ’82); Vicki Goetze (’87, ’89, ’90); Beth Bauer (’94, ’97); Aree Song (’99, 2000); Inbee Park (’01, ’02); Lexi Thompson (’07, ’09); and Ariya Jutanugarn (’11, ’12).

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