Leah John Still Hanging On After Round Three In Kimberley

Leah John Survived A Late Stumble And Takes A Two-Shot Lead Into The Final Round Of The B.C. Junior Girls Presented By Maui Jim Championship At Kimberley GC - BC Golf File Photo

By Brad Ziemer. British Columbia Golf

Leah John seems to be winning her game of 'catch-me-if-you-can' with the rest of the field at the B.C. Junior Girls Presented by Maui Jim Championship.

She hopes she can hang on for one more day. No one has been able to reel in John, the 18-year-old Vancouver resident who has been leading the event since she opened with a four-under 68 in Tuesday’s first round.

John fired a four-over 76 in Thursday’s third round and will carry a two-shot lead into Friday’s final round at Kimberley Golf Club as she tries to go wire-to-wire for what would be the biggest win of her junior golfing career.

John acknowledged that playing with the lead all week has been emotionally taxing. “Today was probably the hardest round I have ever played,” she said. “Just mentally, not even golf, just mentally. I have never been in this position before so it was just a grind out there. There is a fine line between being aggressive and trying to get a couple of strokes on your competitors, while also trying to play it safe.”

John stumbled late in her round. She had talked about taking better advantage of the par 5s at Kimberley Golf Club and she birdied both of them -- holes 12 and 14 -- on the back nine Thursday to restore the four-shot lead she began the day with.

But John bogeyed the 16th hole and then doubled the 17th after hitting her tee shots left on both holes and into what she called “a real yucky position in the fescue.”

John, who just graduated from high school at York House School, sits at two-over par through 54 holes. Phoebe Yue of West Vancouver and Amanda Minni of Delta are tied for second. Yue and Minni both shot two-over 74s on Thursday.

John, a junior member at Marine Drive Golf Club, acknowledged she is battling more than her closest competitors. “There is a lot of noise in my head throughout the round,” she said. “I am just trying to be mindful and keep breathing throughout the round. It has definitely been extremely hard.”

She has been spending time between rounds talking to her parents as well as her golf coach and fitness trainer. “Both my coach and fitness trainer have competitive experience and understand what it is like to be an athlete under this kind of pressure. They have really helped me and pushed me and reminded me to stay in the moment and that I am a good golfer and I do have what it takes.”

Click HERE for complete B.C. Junior Girls Presented By Maui Jim Championship scoring

CHIP SHOTS:  Angel Lin of Surrey shot the day’s best score, a one-under 71, and sits alone in fourth place at six-over par. Angela Zhang of Vancouver is fifth at seven-over after shooting a 75 on Thursday. . .The top three players after Friday’s final round will represent B.C. at the Canadian Junior Girls Championship, which goes July 31-Aug. 3 at Beach Grove Golf Club in Tsawwassen.