Tour News

Minjee Makes Her Move In California

An equal best of the day 66 has MInjee Lee in contention at the LPGA event in California (Photo: Bruce Young)
In the shadows of Hollywood Minjee Lee has produced a thriller of a finish to put herself in contention for a fourth LPGA Tour title at the Hugel-JTBC Championship.

Lee went 4-under for the final four holes with a birdie-eagle-par-birdie run to post an equal best of the day 66 and head to the final round just four shots off the pace.

Fellow Australian Katherine Kirk also finished strong after a difficult start and will start Sunday 1-under and T18.

Reigning Australian Women’s Open champion Jin Young Ko shares the lead with overnight leader Moriya Jutanugarn, the pair at 9-under for the week

Ko matched Lee’s 66 while Jutanugarn fought back bravely from an opening double bogey with a hole out for eagle at the par-4 16 and a final hole birdie to shoot 1-under.

Lee began the day even par and in a share of 20thposition but ended in a share of sixth after a brilliant third round.

Following a birdie at the first she reeled off 13 consecutive pars but still made headway on the leaderboard as the field continued to find the iconic Wilshire Country Club a tricky proposition.

The Los Angeles gem, home club to several of Hollywood’s biggest celebrity names, puts a premium on ball striking and plays to Lee’s strengths whose putting was also on song Saturday.

Lee’s blistering finish momentarily had her in a share of fourth place but a strong finish from those behind on the golf course moved her two places down the standings.

Ko and Jutanugarn hold a one-shot lead over Inbee Park with Eun Hi Jee and Marina Alex a shot further back sharing fourth.

Alex struggled early with two bogeys and a double through the first 11 holes but recovered bravely with three birdies on the way to the clubhouse to salvage a 1-over 72 and remain within three of the lead.

She could have been even closer but for a missed short range birdie putt at the 18th, Eun Hee Ji also disappointed with her finish.

Ji shared the lead at 8-under through 16 holes but three putted for bogey at the 17th then missed the green at the 18th in an all but impossible spot then leaving a long range par attempt on the lip.

ANA Inspiration winner Pernilla Lindberg recovered from a horror 76 Friday to go 10 shots better on day three and also sign for a 5-under 66 to move into the top 10.

Sunday promises a thrilling finish with several storylines in play. Jutanugarn, whose younger sister Ariya is a multiple Tour winner and former World Number One, is in search of her first Tour victory while Ko could all but ensure Rookie of the Year honours with a second win for the season.

Marina Alex is also in search of a maiden LPGA title while Lee, who played the most consistent golf of anybody last season without a victory, looks to add to her current tally of three.


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