Windsor's Ly takes lead at Ontario junior girls' championship

By Mark Malone, Postmedia Network

Maple City Country Club doesn't seem nearly as big as it once did to Jasmine Ly.

The 17-year-old from Windsor owns a one-stroke lead going into the final day of the Ontario junior girls' golf championship after shooting a 2-over 74 in the third round Wednesday.

Ly was just 13 when Maple City last hosted the tournament back in 2014.

“The course definitely played a lot longer than it did now,” the Team Ontario player said, laughing. “I just hit it a bit further now. Makes it a bit easier.”

Ly's third-round score was her worst of the tournament, but it was still good enough to put her atop the leaderboard. She's at even-par after starting with rounds of 72 and 70.

“It was good,” said Ly, who plays out of Kingsville Golf & Country Club. “I had a rough start. I started off with a double, but I came back. Then the last four holes were kind of tough because the wind picked up, which made it a little bit more difficult.”

She recovered from her double bogey on No. 1 with two birdies on the front nine, then birdied No. 10 to reach 1 under on the day.

She ran into trouble late in the round, posting three straight bogeys on Nos. 15 to 17.

After three days at Maple City, she has a plan for handling the course in the final round.

“Back nine, stay below the hole. Do not go above it. Makes it really tough,” said Ly, who has committed to Northern Illinois University for 2019.

Second-round leader Sarah Beqaj of Toronto is one stroke behind at 1 over. She shot a 78 after setting the women's course record in the second round with a 67.

“Not my best round today,” said Beqaj, 16. “Putts did not go in. I was expecting them to go in, but they did not. It was a little tough, but that's OK.”

Ly and Beqaj will be in the final threesome with Strathroy's Taylor Kehoe, the first-round leader who's in third place at 3 over. They're scheduled to tee off at 9:50 a.m.

“Tomorrow should be a fun little battle,” said Beqaj, the 2017 Ontario junior girls' runner-up.

Chatham's Brooke MacKinnon is in ninth place at 10 over following her second straight 77 on her home course.

“Not where I wanted to be after starting off so well,” she said.

She was on pace for the round of her life after making the turn at 2 under, but she was 7 over on the back nine.

“I played really well on my first nine, then on the back nine I just couldn't hit or putt, so it was a bit of a struggle,” said MacKinnon, 18. “ … On the 10th hole, I made a good two-putt (for par). And then after that it was just not very good at all.”

She had two double bogeys and three bogeys during a seven-hole stretch before two-putting for par on the 18th.

“I hit every shot the way I wanted to and I hit good putts on the first nine, so I could go after the pins because I was confident,” MacKinnon said. “And then I don't know what happened on the back nine. I lost it all.”

Hailey Katona of Tilbury is tied for 16th place at 17-over-par after shooting an 8-over 80.

Tess Scaman of Chatham shot an 88 and is in 42nd place.