THREE crucial par putts in the middle of a brilliant round of 67 has Minjee Lee in control of the LPGA Tour’s Blue Bay tournament in China.
The West Australian will take a six shot lead into the weekend after racing ahead of the field, only one player posting a better score in blustery conditions on day two.
Lee began the day two in front of Sandra Gal and Jessica Korda but quickly increased the margin with a birdie at the third.
It was one of five for the day on a card with no blemishes as Lee got to 12-under, the only player in the field to reach double digits under par.
PLAYER PROFILE MINJEE LEE:
“I had a pretty solid day today,” the 20-year-old said. “I started 3-under through the first nine so that was good.
“I’ve been rolling it pretty well yesterday and today so hopefully I can keep it going.”
Three putts in the middle of the round stood out for Lee, par attempts at 11, 12 and 13 all finding the cup from missable range to keep her momentum going.
Lee’s nearest overnight pursuers, Jessica Korda and Sandra Gal, both found the going tougher on day two as the breeze picked up and made the Jian Lake course play tricky.
A final hole birdie salvaged an even par score for the long hitting Korda to drop to T3 and seven off the pace while Gal headed straight for the driving range after posting a 73 which dropped her to T5.
It was another German, Caroline Masson, who made headway in the second round with a gutsy 3-under-69.
A bogey at the third followed by a string of 10 straight pars had the 27-year-old treading water but she caught fire late with four birdies in her last five holes.
Her second consecutive 3-under round sees her to outright second at 6-under, one ahead of Korda and Carlota Ciganda.
Playing her third year in America, Masson already has a win in 2016 at the Manulife LPGA Classic but has work ahead of her if she is to add to her tally this week.
Lee has looked near flawless over the opening 36 holes and with a third career LPGA title in her sights will be hard to chase down over the final two rounds.
Fellow Australians Su Oh and Sarah Jane Smith made little headway in their second rounds after poor starts, Oh posting an even par 72 to move from T51 to T34 while Smith continued to struggle adding a 3-over 75 to her opening 79 to be T73.
PABLO LARRAZABAL PUTS HIS PUTTER ON NOTICE: