Rose Zhang sets personal scoring record, takes third-round lead at Maybank Championship

Rose Zhang hugs her caddie at the Maybank Championship

Rose Zhang is in position to claim her second career LPGA win in 12 starts.

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Rose Zhang is in position to claim her second LPGA title at this week’s Maybank Championship in Malaysia.

The 20-year-old fired a third-round 65, 7 under par, to take the lead by one shot over Attaya Thitikul and Jasmine Suwannapura. Zhang’s rounds of 65-68-65 (-18) set new personal lows with two- and three-round totals of 133 and 198, respectively.

A win on Sunday would mark the second of Zhang’s professional career, which has only spanned 12 starts thus far. Zhang played her first event as a pro in June at the Mizuho Americas Open, a tournament she won in a playoff, making her the first rookie to win in her debut since Beverly Hanson 1951.

Following that win, Zhang notched three top-9 finishes in her next four tournaments, but hasn’t contended until this week. Her best finish since July is T26 at the Buick Shanghai Open earlier this month.

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Zhang’s Mizuho win granted her immediate LPGA Tour membership, and eligibility to compete in the Solheim Cup in Spain, where she went 0-2-1 in Team USA’s 14-14 tie with Europe, which meant the Europeans retained the Cup.

This week, Zhang has Danielle Kang’s former caddie Olly Brett on the bag — a pairing that already seems to be paying dividends.

“I think Olly makes a huge difference, especially with us just enjoying the golf course and having a good time,” Zhang said after her third round. “I felt like my game was very solid just from tee to green, and I was able to convert the putts I needed to. I feel really great. I just feel like being able to have this opportunity to come into the final round with a little bit of a lead is really great.

“I think that going forward it’s just making sure I’m having fun, having that game plan, and enjoying every simple moment.”

Zhang will play the final round alongside Thitikul and Suwannapura at 9:17 a.m. local time in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can watch final-round coverage of the Maybank Championship Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. Editor

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