July 23rd, 2024

Minjee Lee birdies 18th hole to take a 2-stroke lead at LPGA South Korea event

By The Associated Press on October 20, 2023.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Minjee Lee overcame swirling winds to shoot a 3-under 69 on Friday and take a two-stroke lead after two rounds of the LPGA South Korea tournament.

Lee had a two-round total of 11-under 133. American Alison Lee bogeyed her final hole for a 72 and was tied for second with first-round leader Ashleigh Buhai (73).

Defending champion Lydia Ko was three strokes behind after a 69.

Brooke Henderson, of Smiths Falls, Ont., shot a 1-under 71 and is six shots back of the leader.

Starting the day two shots off the lead, Minjee Lee’s two-round total was her lowest since her win at the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open.

“I think I just tried to take as much advantage as I could when the wind was behind us,” said Lee. “And obviously the birdie on 18 was just like cherry on top. So it was nice to finish on a good note.”

A win in South Korea would be special for the 27-year-old Lee, whose parents are both from the country.

“I have a really deep heritage here. So I always love coming back and playing,” said the Australian. “Being at the top of the leaderboard is always nice, and being in contention is always my goal. So hopefully I can have a great weekend.”

Buhai shot a bogey-free 62 to take a one-stroke lead after Thursday’s first round in soft conditions on the newly-renovated Seowon Valley Country Club course outside Seoul.

But those low scores – only 10 players in the 78-player, no-cut field were over par – changed on Friday and gusty winds and fast greens made scoring difficult.

“I think that is one of the toughest days I’ve ever had on a golf course in terms of the wind switching,” said Buhai. “I’ve never played any round where the wind just switched that much.”

The South Korea tournament is the second of four in the LPGA Tour ‘s Asian swing. Angel Yin, who shot 68 Friday and is four strokes behind Lee, won the LPGA Shanghai event last week. The tour moves to Malaysia and Japan over the next two weeks.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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