Zhang captured the moving day with the lowest round of the tournament LPGA

Life is like an ice cream cone. Enjoy it before it melts.

That’s one sentence LPGA rookie Hyo Joon Jang uses to describe her approach to life on Instagram — a no-holds-barred, seize-the-moment attitude that’s catapulted her to the top of the women’s game.

Zhang overcame a moving day at the Portland Classic, carding the lowest round of the tournament and moving from a tie for 25th to the top of the leaderboard.

„I think it’s very important for me to play smart,” Zhang told the media after his round on Saturday. „Later was still calm so I could see what was going on. Laying later definitely helped me.

Zhang needed just 22 putts on the third day at Columbia Edgewater Country Club. Not just a low round of the week, but also his career best on the LPGA Tour. On Saturday, the 20-year-old from Korea Republic got off to a lightning start with six birdies in his first seven holes and conceded just one stroke on the fourth, ninth hole. But she added five more on the return and returned to make birdies on the back nine. The smooth, downhill, 15-foot par-4 she rolled for the 11th birdie of the day was one she won’t soon forget, Zhang says.

„It was a little faster than I thought, but it went in, thank God,” Zhang said of his closing birdie. „I don’t give up until the end, I try my best, so I want to give myself credit.”

Jung immigrated to the United States from Korea at the age of 16 and quickly rose through the ranks for the tour. After just one season competing on the Epson Tour, she finished 10th and the final qualifier in the Epson Tour Race to earn her LPGA Tour card for 2023.

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For many players transitioning to the LPGA Tour, the first year is full of pinch-me moments, including meeting or playing players they looked up to as junior golfers. On Saturday, Jang had one of those special moments in Portland as she teamed up with her longtime idol Hyo Joo Kim.

„She was my biggest role model when I was young and I was so grateful to play with her. I really enjoyed it,” Zhang said of playing with the major champion. „She said it was a really good round and she looked really good.”

The LPGA rookie’s prowess has made her move to the top level of women’s golf so quickly, all the more impressive as she has battled back pain throughout her career.

This week, Jung makes his seventh start, his first start coming in April at the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii, where Golf Channel reported he underwent surgery earlier in the year that delayed the start of the season. Her pain returned at the Shoprite LPGA Classic in June, sidelining her for two months. Jung only returned to competition last week at the CPKC Women’s Open. She told Golf Channel after the third round that although she usually feels discomfort in her back, she was pain-free during the day.

„Feels pretty good,” Zhang said of her back. „I haven’t played much this year, but I’m going to play more, so I’m really excited for the future. So there’s not much to talk about this season.

Zhang gave the golf world plenty to talk about on Saturday. There are other departments to think about on moving day.

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