30 May 2021 | Professional golf |

Thai star ends Lee's run

by Martin Blake

Minjee Lee match play win image
Australia's Minjee Lee putts during her round of 16 win over Mel Reid today. Photo: Getty

Minjee Lee's strong run at the LPGA's match play championship in Las Vegas hit a freight train in the form of Ariya Jutanugarn today.

Australia's Lee dismissed England's Mel Reid in the round of 16 in the morning, but in the quarter-final against the Thai superstar it was a one-sided affair.

Jutanugarn, who reached No. 1 in the world in 2018, beat Lee 5 and 4 to move into tomorrow's semi-finals.

Meanwhile the 25-year-old Lee will reflect on a good week and move on to the US Women's Open next week at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Perth's Lee beat Reid 5 and 4 today shooting four under par for the 14 holes they played.

“I holed a pretty length putt on the first hole, so that was a nice start for me,” said Lee. “Then I made a string of really good par saves, so had the momentum going. I was able to capitalize on my opportunities and just a solid morning.”

And although she was not quite so on-song in the afternoon, it was Jutanugarn's brilliance that determined the result.

In a historical quirk, this pair had played each other in the semi-finals of the 2012 US Junior, with the Australian winning on her way to the title.

Today the Thai star made three consecutive birdies in the middle stretch of the round to take control, reaching five up through 10 holes before a slight shift of momentum when she made a mess of the 11th and handed that hole to Lee.

At this point, Jutanugarn appeared to be suffering in the 34-degree heat and threatening to melt down.

The Australian then hit it close at the par-four 12th but could not make the birdie putt from two metres, and at the par-three 13th she flared her tee shot right and made bogey to concede the ground that she had made.

Jutanugarn closed it out at the 14th with a bogey. Lee chipped up close and had a par putt of two metres to extend the match, but missed.

JASON Scrivener is outright fourth at 10 under par through three rounds of the European Tour's event in Denmark, four shots from the lead.

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