23 Jun 2024 | Professional golf |

Minjee makes her move at KPMG Women’s PGA

by Tony Webeck

Minjee Lee KPMG Women's PGA
Minjee Lee made a move up the leaderboard in Round 3 of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images

West Australian Minjee Lee has made a major move up the leaderboard to lead the Aussie charge heading into the final round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in Washington.

The tight, tree-lined fairways of Sahalee Country Club once again tested the best players in the women’s game, former Gold Coast resident Amy Yang (71) leading by two through three rounds at 7-under par.

Born in South Korea, Yang completed high school at Robina State High and won the ANZ Ladies Masters at RACV Royal Pines Resort while in Year 11, at the time the youngest winner of a Ladies European Tour event.

A five-time winner on the LPGA Tour, Yang is chasing a maiden major championship that would also elevate her into position to represent Korea at the Olympics for a second time.

Lee’s spot on the Australian Olympic team is already guaranteed but she will be hoping to use a strong finish at Sahalee to generate momentum heading towards Paris.

An even par round of 72 on Saturday moved Lee up eight spots and into a tie for 25th at 2-over par, three clear of fellow Australians Stephanie Kyriacou (78) and 2019 champion Hannah Green (73).

With just four birdies to her name over the first 36 holes, Lee made good early progress in Round 3.

She converted a birdie opportunity from just inside 12 feet at the par-4 fourth and then got up-and-down from the fringe at the par-5 sixth to be 2-under on her round.

Three bogeys in her next four holes quelled the two-time major champion’s momentum but she fought back with birdie putts of 13 feet at 12 and 29 feet at 14, dropping a shot at 15 to end the day square with the card and nine shots off the lead.

Birdies at 12 and 17 helped Green to climb nine spots and into a tie for 43rd at 5-over, level with Kyriacou who endured a disappointing third round.

Just outside the top 10 at the start of play, Kyriacou hit just 43 per cent of fairways and 55 per cent of greens in her round of 6-over 78 that saw her fall outside the top 40.

Two double-bogeys on her back nine saw Gabi Ruffels shoot 76 in Round 3 while Grace Kim dropped three shots in her final two holes in a round of 5-over 77.

Photo: David Cannon/Getty images

Australian scores T25 Minjee Lee 74-72-72—218 T43 Stephanie Kyriacou 74-69-78—221 T43 Hannah Green 71-77-73—221 T62 Gabriela Ruffels 74-74-76—224 66 Grace Kim 73-75-77—225 MC Robyn Choi 75-76—151 MC Sarah Kemp 75-76—151 MC Hira Naveed 82-83—165

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