Tour News

Lee claws back in title defence

(Photo: Bruce Young)
Defending champion Minjee Lee has begun the hard work of erasing a first round 73 to put herself back in position to contend at the weekend with a second round 68 at the LPGA’s Lotte Championship in Hawaii.

Lee, who stormed to victory with a final round 63 in 2016, struggled to find form in the opening round and found herself seven shots off the pace heading to day two.

But a birdie at her first hole of the day kickstarted the West Australian who made the turn 1-under and cared a further threre birdies on her second nine.

Lee has now moved to 3-under for the tournament, six shots off the pace with play suspended late in the day after an earlier weather delay.

World Number Three Ariya Jutanugarn and  Korea’s I.K Kim share the clubhouse lead at 9-unde with another Korean, Su-Yeon Jang, also at that number but with two holes of her second round remaining.

Katherine Kirk maintained her overnight position as the best of the Australians adding a 2-under 70 to her opening 68 to be inside the top 15.

The Queenslander matcher her opening day effort of four birdies but added two dropped shots to the mix on day two to be 6-under and on the edge of contention.

The final two Australians in the field, Sarah Jane Smith and Su Oh, are both hovering near the cut line which will be made tomorrow after players return to the course to complete their second rounds.

Smith hit back from an opening 74 to shoot 3-under on day two and be 1-under for the tournament, likely enough to make the weekend.

Su Oh, however, looks to have missed after backing up a 75 on day one with a 70 in round two to be 1-over for the week and T86 when play was called for the day.

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