03 Jun 2022 | Professional golf |

Lee opens with 67 at US Women's Open

by PGA of Australia

Minjee Lee.

By Tony Webeck

West Australian Minjee Lee is just two strokes off the lead following an opening round of four-under 67 at the US Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in North Carolina.

The customary brilliant ball-striking was again on show as Lee hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation but additional preparation with the putter paid off as she picked up seven birdies in the first round of the championship.

Hannah Green had just the two birdies in her round of one-under 70, Grace Kim’s two-over 73 was marred by a double-bogey at the par-4 17th, Gabriela Ruffels was left to rue a double-bogey at the par-5 15th in her three-over 74, while Sarah Kemp had seven bogeys and two birdies in her round of five-over 76.

A winner just two weeks ago at the Cognizant Founders Cup, Lee is understandably riding high on confidence and pleased to be two shots back of Swedish amateur Ingrid Lindblad (65) late in Round 1.

“I was pretty solid all day,” said the world No.4.

“I made quite a few birdies out there. I also made a few bogeys, as well, but overall I think I putted really well.

“I had really good speed on the greens today.

“I did a little bit more on the speed of the greens (in preparation). Did a lot more lag putts. You’re going to have putts that are long around here. Just to get the speed right I think is really important, so I think that’s what I did most of.

“Usually I hit it better than my putting but I’ve been working really hard on all aspects of my game, so I feel like I’m pretty confident just in my ability right now.”

While her putting was prominent on day one it will be the iron play for which she is ranked the No.1 player on tour that promises to put Lee in contention for a second major as the week progresses.

Despite only hitting nine of 14 fairways, the 26-year-old still managed to hit 83 per cent of greens in regulation on a golf course that can repel approaches not hit into the right section of the green.

“It’s pretty generous off the tee so if you can get it on the fairway then you’re going to have a good look into the greens,” said Lee.

“I’ve been feeling pretty good with my irons so I think that’s really important here.

“It’s a second-shot golf course, so I feel like that’s really been a help this week so far.”

Round 2 tee times AEST 9.11pm Gabriela Ruffels, Laney Frye (a), Cheyenne Knight 2.52am Grace Kim, Minsol Kim (a), Catherine Park (a) 3.07am Sarah Kemp, Emma McMyler (a), Dottie Ardina 4.13am Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Brooke Henderson 4.20am Hannah Green, Jessica Korda, Lydia Ko

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