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For Anna Davis, the game plan on moving day was simple: Hang on tight, and don’t fall off.
The 15-year-old from Spring Valley, California (a San Diego suburb), had a rollercoaster round and couldn’t pinpoint much that went well for her during the third round at the 45th Girls Junior PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.
Off the tee? Meh. Approach shots? Blah. Short game? Decent enough. Putting? Nope.
“I guess the strong point today was my mental game. I just kept my head about me,” Davis said with a tiny eye roll. “It was one of those kinda days.”
On a day that played tough for the whole field, Davis was able to hold steady and shoot even-par 73 to keep the solo lead. She sits at 9 under going into the final round Friday, with a two-shot lead over Isabella McCauley (Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota) and Julia Misemer (Overland Park, Kansas), who shot the low round of the day with a 5-under 68.
All three will be in the final group Friday at 10 a.m. ET.
Davis started her day 3 over after five holes, but played the rest of the round 3 under with four birdies, including a final one on the par-5 18th after her drive came nervously close to the water on the right side. She gave a wry smile off the tee before marching forward and closing out her day on a positive note.
“I was a little bit all over the place … just a little bit,” Davis said. “I just hit bad shots here and there. It was everywhere, but mostly I was just missing greens.”
Misemer, a section qualifier, didn’t have those issues early, starting her round searing hot. Her run started with a birdie on the par-5 second hole, which started a string of six consecutive birdies, including a chip-in on No. 3.
She made bogey on No. 9, but got rolling again on 10. After a massive tee shot to the middle of the fairway, she hit a low, running iron shot that ran through the green and sat on a backside slope. She chipped that to about 5 feet and made another birdie.
The round didn’t end as well as it started, though. Misemer, 17, doubled No. 13 and parred out the rest of the way, including a disappointing 5 on the closing hole.
“Everything was so concentrated on the front. I knew I wanted to give myself some cushion on the back nine because I haven’t played it very well,” Misemer said. “It really was just up and down after that. I can say I shot 5 under, though, without hitting any greens on the par 3s and with a double.”
McCauley, 17, shot the second-lowest round of the day with a 4-under 69, with all that glory coming on the back nine.
After going out even on the front, McCauley drilled a fairway metal off the 10th fairway that landed short and trickled onto the green with a front pin placement. She then knocked in a 15-footer for eagle, capping it off with a little fist pump.
Some of that sizzle came off with a bogey on the next hole, but three more birdies eventually dropped before the end of her round.
College Coaches Aplenty
College golf coaches from around the country are here eyeing future recruits, getting a glimpse of the next up-and-comers on the junior circuit and checking in on commits this week.
Coaches from NCAA Division I powerhouses Ole Miss, Stanford, Duke, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, LSU and Wake Forest, among many others, are at Valhalla following players. In total, 79 collegiate coaches have been in attendance
Kentucky Natives in the Field
Seven Kentucky natives are competing this week.
Trinity Beth, Calvert City - T-22 - (75-71-75--221)
Macie Brown, Mount Washington - T-37 -(71-77-77--225)
Casey Powell, Lexington - MC - (78-87--165)
Abigail Sutherland, Glenview - MC - (82-82--164)
Savannah Howell, Calvert City - MC - (83-79--162)
Elizabeth Eberle, Richmond - MC - (86-74--160)
Claira Beth Ramsey, Richmond - MC - (89-82--171)
The 45th Girls Junior PGA Championship continues with final-round play Friday at 8 a.m. ET.