Richard James stays atop South Beach Amateur International golf championship

Richard James led the South Beach Amateur International golf championship for the third day in a row on Sunday.

That’s all fine and good, but it won’t mean much of anything unless he leads after Monday’s fourth and deciding round at Miami Beach Golf Club. And James, a 23-year-old from Wales who played his college golf at the University of South Florida, knows all too well that golf can provide the unexpected.

He’s hoping for more of the same, but admitted, “Your golf game can change quickly.”

James goes into Monday’s final round protecting a two-stroke lead after rounds of 65-66-72 for a 203 total.

Sunday’s round wasn’t what James wanted.

“I didn’t hit it that good,” he said. “I missed some easy putts. This was a tough day for me. It seems like that in every tournament there is one round you don’t play well. That’s what this round was. Nothing really went my way out there.”

Because or that, James is looking over his shoulder at several players.

Three players were tied at two back, totaling 205. They were Gabriel Lench, a 17-year-old high school senior from Lake Mary in Central Florida, with a 68-66-71; Adam Svensson, who has led Barry to the Division II national championship the past two years, checking in at 68-67-70, and Ben Griffin, from the University of North Carolina, shooting 65-70-70.

Unlike his brother, James chose the more refined sport of golf in his native Wales rather than throw himself into a scrum playing rugby, a sport that the nation loves.

“My brother plays rugby,” James explained, “and he has torn his ACL three times. I don’t need that.”

▪ Doral-Publix Junior Classic: The world’s largest junior golf tournament started its 14-older competition on Sunday.

The leaders by divisions: Boys’ 16-18 — Chandler Morris, shooting 70, led by one stroke; Boys’ 14-15 — Ricardo Gonzalez, with a 69, was ahead by three shots; Girls’ 16-18 — Megan Khang, last year’s runner-up, is tied with Aldana Foigel at 73; Girls’ 14-15 — Candice Mahe of France shot a 70 for a five-stroke lead over four players.

▪ Dixie Amateur: For the third consecutive day, Brandon Matthews held the lead and will try to protect it heading into Monday’s final round. Matthews shot 70 on Sunday for a two-stroke advantage over Drew Czuchry (also 70). Tied for third were James Clark (68) and Anthony Gabriele (74), both three back.