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Jackson Koivun, Ryleigh Knaub Lead Going Into Final Round of Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship

Jackson Koivun (Chapel Hill, N.C.) and Ryleigh Knaub (Debary, Fla.) will carry three-shot leads into the final round of the Eighth Annual Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship presented by LA Golf at TPC Myrtle Beach.


Koivun, America’s No. 1 ranked junior boy, shot 71 and is 6-under par after 36 holes. He surrendered what had been a one-stroke lead after shooting 37 on the opening nine, but he rallied over the closing holes, highlighted by a birdie on No. 18 to provide a little breathing room with a quartet of challengers looming at 3-under.

Rowan Sullivan (Charleston, S.C.), Henry Guan (Irving, Texas), Ethan Paschal (Fayetteville, N.C.) and Jack Turner (Orlando, Fla.) will enter the final round hoping to make up a three-shot deficit.

Knaub shot a bogey-free 66 to set a new women’s course and tournament single-round record Saturday, and is 4-under after 36 holes. She fired 33 on both sides, turning what had been a six-shot deficit to first round leader Madison Messimer into a three-shot lead.

After opening with a round of 68, Saturday was testament to Messimer’s perseverance. She started on No. 10 and bogeyed five of her first eight holes but battled to shoot even par on her final nine, and enters the third round at 1-under par.  

Alice Ziyi Zhao (Irvine, Calif.) shot 71 and is also 1-under for the tournament.

Forty of the tournament’s 54 boys are ranked among America’s top 100 juniors by either Golfweek or Junior Golf Scoreboard (JGS), while 28 of the 36 girls are top 100 players.

The boys field is headlined by Jackson Koivun (Chapel Hill, N.C.), an Auburn signee who is the nation’s No. 1 junior, according to Junior Golf Scoreboard, and fourth-ranked Nicholas Gross (Downingtown, Pa.).

Anna Davis (Spring Valley, Calif.), who won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and is the ninth ranked junior in the world, headlines the girls field, along with Macy Pate (Winston-Salem, N.C.), Golfweek’s 15th ranked junior and a Wake Forest signee.

New to this year’s tournament is a co-ed team event, designed to mirror the type of competition players will enjoy at the collegiate level.

With the support of Johnson, the top-ranked golfer in the world in each of five years from 2017 to 2021, the tournament provides players a pro golf-like experience and the opportunity to test themselves against some of the game’s best juniors.

A significant part of the event’s appeal is TPC Myrtle Beach, one of the Grand Strand’s most decorated layouts. TPC Myrtle Beach has hosted the Senior PGA Tour Championship and been ranked among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” by Golf Digest, making it an ideal venue to test golf’s rising young stars.

The event’s past boys champions are: 2016 – Blake Taylor (East Carolina), 2017 – Trent Phillips (Georgia), 2018 – Michael Brennan (Wake Forest), 2019 – Akshay Bhatia, 2020 – Tyler Wilkes (Florida), 2021 – Nicholas Dunlap, 2022 – Ben James (Virginia). The previous girls winners are: 2016 – Delaney Shah (Louisville), 2017 – Skylar Thompson (Ohio State), 2018, 2019 – Alex Pano, 2020 – Taylor Roberts (Florida State), 2021 – Jacqueline Putrino, 2022 – Katie Cranston (Auburn).

Johnson’s involvement with the tournament reflects his longtime commitment to junior golf, particularly in South Carolina, where he grew into one of the world’s best players. Through the Dustin Johnson Foundation, which is headquartered in Myrtle Beach, Johnson has donated more than $500,000 to junior golf, sponsoring numerous events throughout the state and helping cover entry costs for kids who need financial assistance.

The Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship is being sponsored by Founders Group International, the Dustin Johnson Golf School, and Golf Tourism Solutions.