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2024 International Golf Tournament - Day 3

Media contact: Jeff Shain

Phone: +1-305-987-8638


Full scoring:

Player photos:

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (Jan. 5, 2024) — For two days, Zach Pelzar was rather content to fly just beneath the radar at the Junior Orange Bowl International golf championships — within arm’s length of the leaders, but out of the spotlight.

“I really was kind of looking to hang in,” the Massachusetts native said Friday. “I was just looking for anything that would keep me in the hunt and then do some work (in Round 4).”

He’s not off the radar anymore.

An eagle and two birdies in Pelzar’s first four holes propelled him to the top of the leaderboard, holding steady afterward in another day of blustery winds to card a 3-under-par 68 and take a one-shot advantage over a crowded chase pack to the 60th edition’s final round at historic Biltmore Golf Club.

“It was a nice way to start, especially in the conditions,” said Pelzar. “I was kind of hoping to keep it going.”

On the girls’ side, Kayla Bryant used a bogey-free 68 to put some separation between herself and the rest of the field. The Boca Raton golfer will take a three-shot lead into the final day, seeking to ascend to the summit after placing third a year ago.

“That would be crazy, honestly,” said Bryant, the only girl to break 70 on Friday. “I can’t quite put into words what it would mean to me, but anything can happen in the final round.”

They’ll be seeking to join a list of Junior Orange Bowl champions topped by Tiger Woods (1991) and LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park (2002). The roster also includes LPGA major winners Lexi Thompson (2009) and Brooke Henderson (2013), resurgent PGA Tour winner Camilo Villegas (1999) and current Australian Open champion Joaquin Niemann (2014).

“It would mean a ton,” said Pelzar. “There’s been a lot of great players to win here, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to do it.”

Miami’s Lorenzo Rodriguez lurks one shot back after a Friday 69, seeking to become the third consecutive South Floridian to win the boys’ division after Nicholas Prieto (2022) and Jay Brooks last year.

“I really hope I can continue it,” said Rodriguez, a junior at nearby Belen Prep. “I just need to play by own game and play confident.”

Second-round leader Jack Buchanan (South Africa) stands two back following a 72, followed by Ukraine’s Misha Golod (70) and Hong Kong’s Darren Zhou (72). In all, nine golfers lurk within five shots of Pelzar’s pace.

“Give me 18 holes and I won’t care what’s leading,” said Buchanan. “As long as I have a chance, I’m happy.”

Conditions are forecast to be breezy again on Saturday, with rain perhaps entering the picture in the final hour. Winds were stronger for Round 3 than they were one day earlier, with gusts approaching 25 mph.

That made Bryant’s bogey-free day even more of an accomplishment. Starting on No. 10, she parred her first eight holes before finally notching her first birdie at the par-5 18th, draining a slick comebacker after chipping 10 feet past the hole.

She followed that with a birdie at the par-5 first, then got a bonus at No. 6 when a downhill 30-footer steamed into the hole for her third birdie.

“It was cooking. My gosh,” Bryant said. “Then it’s deep breath, keep my head on my shoulders, just try to stay even — don’t get too high or too low.”

Bryant also reached the 54-hole checkpoint at 209. France’s Sara Brentcheneff kept pace for most of the day until trouble down the stretch with two bogeys in her last four holes, offset slightly by a birdie.

Brentcheneff’s 71 left her at 1-under as the only other girls’ entrant under par. It was another two shots back to Canada’s Vanessa Borolivos (71) and Japan’s Chizuru Komiya (72).

For Pelzar, the first four holes told the story, starting with his eagle at No. 1 that was capped by a 12-foot putt. He birdied from a similar distance at No. 2, then finished off the sequence at No. 4 with a wedge for a short birdie.

“I’d been kind of struggling with the way I'd been hitting my irons all week,” he said, “but I did some work on the range and was feeling a lot better about it today. I thought I was in a good spot to kind of keep pushing.”

Pelzar managed to card just two more birdies, though, countered with two bogeys. He also credited a putter change in recent days, switching from a blade model to a mallet similar to what Jon Rahm uses.

“That was a pretty big change, but I’ve adjusted quickly,” he said.

Rodriguez made his hay on the Biltmore’s trio of par-5s, playing them in 4-under Friday with his own eagle at No. 1 and birdies at Nos. 15 and 18.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a strength (of mine),” he said, “but I know the Biltmore is a course where that needs to be a strength.”

Buchanan hung right alongside Pelzar for most of the day until a double bogey at the Biltmore’s challenging 17th.

“I missed it in the right place, then I didn’t want to get too greedy,” he said. “I tried to play it smarter and that didn’t go too well, then an unlucky three-putt.”

Buchanan bounced back nicely with a birdie at No. 18, lifting him into Saturday’s final group.

“I’m definitely not going to complain about 1-over par in that wind out there,” he said.

This year’s field brings together entrants from such diverse locales as Ukraine, Austria, Paraguay, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Zimbabwe, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, Iceland, Turkey and Ghana.

Live scoring can be found all week at

The Golf Championship is one of 10 athletic, artistic and cultural events that make up the Junior Orange Bowl International Youth Festival, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2023-24. The festival draws more than 7,500 youth participants to South Florida’s community each year.

For more information on the Golf Championship or other Junior Orange Bowl activities, visit




1.   Zach Pelzar, Weston, Mass.                     70-71-68=209 (-4)
2.   Lorenzo Rodriguez, Miami                        69-72-69=210 (-3)

2.   Jack Buchanan, South Africa                   70-69-72=211 (-2)

t4.  Darren Zhou, Hong Kong                          69-71-72=212 (-1)
t4.  Misha Golod, Ukraine                              68-74-70=212 (-1)


1.   Kayla Bryant, Boca Raton, Fla.                68-73-68=209 (-4)

2.   Sara Brentcheneff, France                       70-71-71=212 (-1)

t3.  Chizuru Komiya, Japan                           70-72-72=214 (+1)

t3.  Vanessa Borovilos, Canada                     72-71-71=214 (+1)

5.   Gia Raad, South Africa                            68-77-70=215 (+2)

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