02 Oct 2021 | Professional golf |

Lee looms up in Korea

by PGA of Australia

Minjee Lee Korea image
Minjee Lee is within striking distance of her first win in Korea. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

West Australian Minjee Lee is poised to record a career-first win in Korea as she enters the third round of the Hana Financial Group Championship on the KLPGA Tour just one stroke off the lead.

Following on from her brilliant bogey-free opening round of seven-under 64 that featured five birdies and an eagle at the par-five sixth, Lee was one over in her second round at Pochun Adonis Golf Country Club before making a late surge.

An approach shot inside eight feet set up birdie at the par-four 11th and after a slight stumble at the par-four 13th picked up three further birdies in her final five holes for a second round of two-under 69 and a share of second with Da Yeon Lee (66-67) at nine under, one back of Korean So Mi Lee (65-67).

Bouncing back quickly from the bogey at 13, the 25-year-old got up and down from short of the green for birdie at the par-five 14th, found the island green at 15 for a second in succession and then recovered after missing the fairway right to close with another birdie at the par-five 18th.

Runner-up at last week’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, Lee was born in Perth to South Korean parents and has been sponsored by the title sponsor since 2014. A winner of nine professional titles, she is seeking her first win in Korea with her best finish coming with a tie for third at the LPGA Tour Hana Bank Championship in 2018.

Kiwi Lydia Ko is also well placed after two rounds, a second round of six-under 65 moving her up into a tie for eighth at seven under par.

ON THE European Tour, Deyen Lawson will have two rounds at the Old Course at St Andrews to try and record his best finish on the main tour.

The Victorian began the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with a two-under par round of 70 at Carnoustie and then used an eagle at the par-four sixth at Kingsbarns to kick-start a second round of four-under 68 to climb into a share of seventh, four shots off the lead held by Englishman Tyrrell Hatton.

Lawson’s best finish to date on the European Tour is a tie for 18th at the 2020 Euram Bank Open and has shown form in the past in this event, finishing tied for 28th in 2018 which included rounds of 69 and 70 on the Old Course.

Lawson is one of three Aussies under par at the halfway mark, with Queensland pair Scott Hend (three under) and Brett Rankin (1-under) also in red figures.

Newcastle’s Blake Windred can move a step closer towards a European Tour card for 2022 with a strong weekend at the Swiss Challenge on the Challenge Tour, sitting in a tie for ninth after two rounds as Spaniard Alejandro Del Rey made history by recording the first round of 58 on a major golf tour in Europe.

Eleven-under thanks to rounds of 66-67, Windred is just three back of Germany’s Marcel Schneider and looking to advance his current position on the Order of Merit of 35th.

On the Ladies European Tour Stephanie Kyriacou (70) is in a share of fifth at two under just two strokes off the lead after Round 1 of the Estrella Damm Ladies Open in Spain while Hannah Green and Katherine Kirk are the best of the Aussies at the LPGA Tour’s ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey after the pair opened their tournament with rounds of two-under 69.

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