Kelly Chinn of Great Falls, Virginia, took back the Boys Division lead in the third round of the Rolex Tournament of Champions, while Rose Zhang of Irvine, California, increased her Girls Division lead.
The 42nd edition of the Rolex Tournament of Champions features 144 of the best junior golfers in the world from 27 states and 18 countries. The tournament assembles the Rolex Junior All-Americans with the past year’s champions to create The Greatest Week in Junior Golf. There are 63 current or former Rolex Junior All-Americans in the field, with a total of 92 AJGA champions competing.
Past winners of the Rolex Tournament of Champions include Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Charles Howell, David Gossett, Webb Simpson, Sam Burns, Heather Farr, Kellee Booth, Inbee Park, Morgan Pressel and Alison Lee.
Chinn, who entered the day one stroke off the lead, got off to a strong start with a birdie on the first hole of the Fazio Course. After carding six straight pars, Chinn made back-to-back birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 to make the turn at 3-under-par 33. The Duke commit finished off his unblemished round with two more birdies to post a 5-under-par 67 and take a three-shot lead at 12-under-par 203.
The 2019 Rolex Junior All-American entered the week No. 45 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. He finished T3 at the Justin Thomas Junior Championship in April and reached the semifinals of the U.S. Junior Amateur in July.
First-round leader Karl Vilips of (Australia) Wesley Chapel, Florida, also opened his round with a birdie on No. 1 of the Fazio Course, though the rest of the round would prove to be up-and-down. He added two more birdies and a couple bogeys on the way out to make the turn at 1-under-par 35. On the way in he carded seven pars with a birdie and a bogey to finish the day at 1-under-par 71 for a tournament total of 9-under-par 206.
Piercen Hunt of (Canada) Hartland, Wisconsin, sits in third at 7-under-par 208. Hunt fired five birdies and an eagle during the round. Hunt, a University of Illinois signee, won the 2019 Western Junior Championship.
Brett Roberts of Coral Springs, Florida, is in fourth at 6-under-par 209. The Florida State signee won the 2019 Wyndham Invitational presented by BB&T.
David Ford of Peachtree Corners, Georgia; Benjamin James of Milford, Connecticut, and Tyler Wilkes of Tampa, Florida, are T5 at 5-under-par 210.
Zhang entered the third round with a seven-stroke lead over several girls after posting rounds of 1-under-par 71 on the Champion and 5-under-par 67 on the Fazio for a 36-hole total of 6-under-par 138. The Girls Division moved back to the Champion Course for the third round, with Zhang starting on No. 1.
The 2019 Rolex Junior Player of the Year got off to a steady start with six pars out of the gate before turning it on with consecutive birdies on the par-3 No. 7 and the par-4 No. 8. She made the turn at 2-under-par 34.
The Stanford commit followed her front nine with a bogey-free 1-under-par 35 on the back nine to finish the day with an unblemished 3-under-par 69. Zhang will take a 10-stroke lead into the final round. She will be seeking her seventh AJGA victory and fifth Invitational title. The four-time Rolex Junior All-American is No. 1 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
Zoe Antoinette Campos of Valencia, California, and Lucie Malchirand of Carnoux, France, moved into a tie for second at 1-over-par 217. The pair have combined for 16 birdies through three rounds.
Campos made her move up the leaderboard with an unblemished 3-under-par 69 of her own. Campos made two birdies on the front nine and another on the back, just like Zhang. Campos posted rounds of 1-over-par 73 and 3-over-par 75 on the Champion and Fazio Courses, respectively.
Campos, a UCLA commit, is a three-time Rolex Junior All-American who owns three AJGA victories with one coming in an Invitational. The high school junior is T13 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
Malchirand, who entered the day tied for second, started slow with a 2-over-par 38 on her front nine. The 2021 grad made up for those strokes on the way in with a bogey-free 2-under-par 34 to finish the day at even-par 72.
Malchirand is competing in her third AJGA event at this week’s Rolex Tournament of Champions. She played for Team Europe at the 2019 PING Junior Solheim Cup, where she went 2-1-0. Malchirand also finished third at the 2018 evian® International & Senior Showcase hosted by Danielle Kang (Senior Girls).
Final-round tee times run from 7:30 - 9:20 a.m. on Thursday, November 28. The Girls Division will be competing on the Fazio Course, while the Boys Division will play the Champion.