POTOMAC FALLS, Va. – The battle for the Patty Berg Trophy in the girls’ division heated up Thursday, with Abbey Carlson of Lake Mary, Fla., and Kristen Gillman of Austin, Texas, tied for the 54-hole lead, while Jacob Solomon of Dublin, Calif., grabbed the lead in the boys’ division at the 38th Junior PGA Championship presented by Under Armour and Hotel Fitness.
The 72-hole Championship, being played at Trump National Golf Club-Washington, D.C., featured a 54-hole cut to the low 30 boys and 30 girls, including ties, with 35 boys making the cut at 5-over-par 218 and 32 girls making the cut at 9-over-par 222.
The Championship concludes Friday.
In the boys’ division, Solomon, who trailed leader Brad Dalke of Hobart, Okla., by a stroke heading into the third round, shot a 4-under-par 67 for a 204 total to take a one-stroke lead over Tyler McDaniel of Manchester, Ky.
Dalke is third after a third-round 70.
In the third round of the girls’ division, Carlson and Gillman took turns as the leader, with both players ultimately making par on the 18th hole, to take a one stroke lead into the final round on Friday. Amy Lee of Brea, Calif., used a third-round 67, which tied the female competitive course-record, to take sole possession of third place.
Samantha Wagner of Windermere, Fla., who held both the 18- and 36-hole leads, shot 73, and is fourth.
Carlson’s bogey-free, 2-under-par 69 featured two birdies – a 25-foot putt at the par-3 ninth, and a 35-foot putt on the par-4 16th.
“I was really consistent out there today. I played well and didn’t make a single bogey,” said Carlson, who is competing in her first Junior PGA Championship. “I made some really good par saves on four, five and six, which helped me stay consistent throughout the rest of the round.”
Gillman’s third-round 70 was her third consecutive round under par. She offset three bogeys with four birdies.
The 15-year-old is satisfied with her position at the top of the leaderboard and looking forward to the final round.
“My ball striking was solid throughout the day and I made a few really good putts,” said Gillman. “I need to hit it well again tomorrow and make a few putts to have a chance. It’s going to be fun.”
In the boys’ division, the chase for the Jack Nicklaus Trophy promises to be compelling, as 10 players are within four strokes of the lead.
But Solomon’s third consecutive round in the 60s was good enough to give him the solo lead heading into the final round.
“I hit a lot of greens, which gave me a bunch of opportunities to score,” said Solomon. “I didn’t get in too much trouble all day and that was key to my success out there.”
Solomon, 16, has experience playing with the lead. He had three tournament wins in 2012, and held at least a share of the lead in all of them.
“I do like playing with the lead and I think I will be fine tomorrow,” said Solomon. “I had three wins last summer, and I had the lead in all of them heading into the final round. I am pretty confident.”
McDaniel, who finished eighth in the 2012 Junior PGA Championship, tied the male competitive course-record of 65 at Trump National on Thursday and earned a spot in the final group on Friday.
“Other than the first tee shot and that missed the fairway by five yards, I don’t think I hit a shot that I didn’t like today,” said McDaniel, 17. “I had no fear today. I had nothing to lose since I wasn’t leading.”
Dalke, like Wagner in the girls’ division, held both the 18- and 36-hole leads. His 70, however, was still good enough to get him in the final pairing.
The unique routing of 18 holes being used this week, dubbed the “Championship Tournament Course,” has never been used previously in competitive play.