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Minjee Lee just one behind at ANA Inspiration

Minjee Lee (Photo: Henry Peters)
Australia’s Minjee Lee is well placed at the completion of 36 holes of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills in Palm Springs, the 20 year old just one shot behind Norway’s Suzann Pettersen who, with seven top tens in her last eight starts in the event, must surely be hard to beat over the closing 36 holes.

Lee shares second place with four other players, namely former winner Inbee Park, veteran Cristie Kerr, LPGA Tour rookie Nelly Korda and Frenchwoman Karine Icher although Icher still has eight holes to play of round two.

Lee has only one top ten in 14 major championship starts but she has created an opportunity to better her previous best of 9th at the 2015 Women’s British Open.

“I was holing a couple more putts today, so it was nice,” said Lee. “Yeah, I think I'm in a pretty good position going into tomorrow and the next day. So yeah, hopefully can keep it going.

“I wasn't hitting it bad those two weeks (where she missed the cut). I just didn't hole any putts. It's nice to hole a couple this week.”

With 53 of the 107 player field still to complete round two as a result of the snowballing effect of strong winds suspending play mid-afternoon on the opening day, the tournament still remains behind schedule, the field scheduled to complete round two on Saturday morning.   

Pettersen has just two career majors to her name but has quite an incredible record in this event without winning. This, though, is her first real show of form in 2017 and so her effort over the next 36 holes will be watched with interest.   

“I feel great,” said Pettersen. “I played fantastic golf all day. You've got to be in the mood to fight if you're a little bit out of position, so I did. I just felt like I deserved the last putt on the last there. I've been playing really good. 3-under on the par 5s, yeah.

“I had a lot of chances. Gave myself a lot of looks. That's all you want on this course. Par is never going to hurt you around this place, but you've got to try and capitalize on some of the holes when they set it up the way they do.”

When asked the reason for her good showing this week Pettersen summed it up quickly. “I’m just thinking really smart.”  

World numbers one and two, Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn, share 11th position at 4 under and just four from the lead after both recorded consecutive rounds of 70.

The cut appears as if it will fall around the one over mark with Australians Su Oh and Karrie Webb currently outside that mark although both have several holes to play of their second rounds.

Sarah Jane Smith however added a second round of 72 to be in a share of 25th position at 2 under and five from the lead and gets the chance over the weekend to continue her recent good form.  


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