Gillman takes 54-hole lead at Girls Junior PGA Championship

Story courtesy of the PGA of America

BRYAN, Texas – (July 31, 2014) Before inclement weather halted play for the day in the boys’ division at 5:09 p.m. CST at Miramont Country Club, Kristen Gillman of Austin, Texas, extended her girls’ division lead heading into the final round of the 39th Junior PGA Championship presented by Under Armour and Genesis Networks.

The third round of the girls’ division was played in the morning, and finished well before rain and lightning moved into the area.

The 72-hole Championship featured a 54-hole cut to the low 30 girls, including ties, with 33 girls making the cut at 226.

Play in the third round of the boys’ division and final round of the girls’ division will resume tomorrow morning at8:00 a.m.

When play was halted in the boys’ division, Gordon Neale of Trabuco Canyon, California, held a two-stroke lead over Sam Burns of Shreveport, Louisiana. Neale was 2-under par in his third round and 8-under par for the Championship.

The final grouping of Neale, Burns and Brad Dalke of Hobart, Oklahoma, were playing their approach shots into the 12th green when play was suspended.

In the girls’ division, Gillman shot 2-under-par 70 Thursday and pushed her lead to six strokes over Hannah O’Sullivan of Paradise Valley, Arizona, and Samantha Wagner of Windermere, Florida. Bethany Wu of Diamond Bar, California, is in fourth place, seven strokes behind Gillman. Through 54 holes, Gilman, O’Sullivan, Wagner and Wu are the only players under par in the girls’ division.

Gillman’s three-day total of 202 is the lowest 54-hole score in the girls’ division of the Junior PGA Championship. She surpassed the previous record of 203 shared by Vicki Goetze of Hull, Georgia, who set the mark in 1990, and Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, who matched it in 2011.

In the girls’ division, Gillman continued her record-setting pace, bouncing back from a double-bogey on the par-4 ninth, with three birdies in her final four holes.

“I didn’t hit many good approach shots on the front nine today, and just made a few more mistakes overall,” said Gillman, whose lead shrunk to just one stroke after 10 holes. “But I wanted to have a bigger lead tomorrow so I tried to make as many birdies as I possibly could.”

Gillman, the 54-hole co-leader in the 2013 Junior PGA Championship, is looking forward to the final roundtomorrow.

“I think both girls [Wagner and O’Sullivan] will play really well tomorrow, so I need to play my best,” said Gillman. “I need to go out and play my game, have fun, and not get caught up in my score.”

Even though she’s six strokes back, Wagner, playing in her fourth Junior PGA Championship, hopes to have a chance to catch Gillman tomorrow.

“I’m a pretty aggressive player, so if I just play that way I should have a lot of birdie chances tomorrow,” said Wagner. “I got pretty close to [Gillman] today on the front nine. If I continue to play well, it should be pretty close tomorrow.”

In addition to claiming the Patty Berg Trophy in the girls’ division and the Jack Nicklaus Trophy in the boys’ division, the field of 156 players will be vying for an exemption to compete on the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour in 2015.

The boys’ division champion this year will compete at the 2015 Valero Texas Open, March 26-29, at TPC San Antonio in Texas. The girls’ division champion this year will receive an exemption into the 2015 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, April 24-27, at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco, California. The agreement was reached between the PGA of America, which conducts the Junior PGA Championship, the Valero Texas Open, and the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

In addition, the Junior PGA Championship will serve as the final qualifying event for the 2014 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team, which will face Europe, Sept. 22-23, at Blairgowrie Golf Club in Perthshire, Scotland. The champion and runner-up in both divisions automatically earn a spot on the U.S. team.

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