Being nine strokes back in a golf tournament heading into the final two rounds is usually not a good position to be in.
However, being one stroke back heading into the final round is not that bad, and putting himself in that not-so-bad spot is much better. Much, much better.
And that’s the place where Kristoffer Reitan of Norway finds himself on Friday heading into the Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championship as it moves into its final round at Biltmore Golf Course in Coral Gables.
“The difference was the mind,” Reitan said.
“The first couple of days I was in so good position to make birdies, but I did not make good on them. Thursday, I made really good shots with the same clubs I had been using. I converted.”
Pressure might not affect Reitan, 18, after this past year and in his entire junior career.
Reitan finished fifth two years ago at the Junior OB and won the tournament last year.
“My biggest goal is winning it back to back,” Reitan said. “It would be a big feat to win it back to back.”
Then, with a smile, he added, “I just need to try to make a lot of birdies on Friday.”
On Thursday, Reitan moved from nine strokes back to one stroke behind Karl Vilips, 15, the second-day leader who shot a 71 on Thursday.
Reitan is no shrinking violet.
“I think I want to be the No.1 player in the world eventually … and also win all the majors. I don’t want to be a mediocre player. Winning is the best feeling in the world,” he said.
In the girls’ competition, Somi Lee opened her lead to four strokes by shooting a 69 on Thursday (68-69-69: 206) with a two-way tie for second between Agathe Laisne (67-72-71: 210) and Monet Chun (68-73-69: 210).
Girls: 1. Somi Lee: South Korea, 68-69-69—206; 2. (tie) Agathe Laisne, France, 67-72-71—210; Monet Chun, Canada, 68-73-79 – 210; 4. Ana Laura Collado, Mexico, 69-72-72—213; 5. Linn Grant, Sweden, 74-71-69 – 214.
Boys: 1. Karl Vilips, 65-67-71—203; 2. Kristoffer Reitan, Norway, 70-71-73—204; 3. Edgar Catherine, France, 68-70-67 –205; 4. Mateo Fernandez de Oliveir, Argentina, 69-68-69—206; 5. Joaquin Niemann, Chile, 67-70-70—207.