20 Dec 2020 | Professional golf |

Lee chasing Korean superstars

by Martin Blake

Minjee Lee went on a back-nine birdie rampage to keep herself in contention at the season-ending LPGA Tour championship in Florida today, but she will have to run down the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 players to win the title tomorrow.

Australia’s Lee birdied five holes in a row and rolled in six birdie putts on the back nine in her six under par 66 at Tiburon Golf Club today.

At nine under par overall, she is tied-fourth, four shots from the lead held by world No. 2 Sei Young Kim of South Korea. World No. 1 Jin Young Ko is a shot back from the lead and in the final group as the two brilliant Koreans set up a head-to-head clash.

Perth’s Hannah Green also is on the leaderboard at eight under par, but both Green and Lee will have to go low tomorrow to have a chance of becoming the first Australian to win the CME Group championship.

Lee’s hot run came from the 13th to the 17th holes, where she hit a string of brilliant iron shots. Her day would have been even better had she not pulled her tee shot into the water at the par-three 12th.

“I think my mindset is to make as many birdies as I can,” she said later. “You know, I haven't really been in contention the last couple weeks so it's nice to be in contention here.”

Lee said she knew she had a big challenge ahead of her tomorrow. “I mean, I think I'm going to have to have a really fast start and a lot of birdies tomorrow. So just play my game, be aggressive, and try and hole a lot of putts.

“I think she (Kim) starts off well and she ends well. If she's on, she's on. It's kind of really hard to keep up if she's really on her game. So just means we have to step up a little bit.”

Green shot a one-under par 71 today but double-bogeyed the last, a mistake that she put down to frustration. She turns 24 tomorrow and she is still inside the top 10 in the $US3 million event.

“It's going to be very strange playing on my birthday,” she said. “Normally I'm at home just chilling doing nothing and my golf clubs are usually in the travel case in the shed. It's going to be quite weird playing a competitive round.

“I don't know how many people know that it's my birthday so I'm not sure what to expect. My caddie knows, so we'll see what he does for me. Yeah, hopefully I get some good bounces on the golf course and maybe a little bit of birthday luck.”



Minjee Lee Tiburon image
Minjee Lee blasts from sand at the 17th during her 66 today at Tiburon. Photo: Getty

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