Minjee Lee surges up Vic Open leaderboard

Australian Minjee Lee is tied for sixth after two rounds of the women's Vic Open at 13th Beach.

MINJEE LEE of Australia plays her tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.
MINJEE LEE of Australia plays her tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. Picture: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

World No.9 Minjee Lee has set herself up perfectly to challenge for a third Vic Open title at 13th Beach.

The 23-year-old enjoyed a hot streak of four birdies and an eagle in a six-hole run on Friday morning on the way to a six-under 67.

It left Lee at nine-under 136 and in a tie for sixth with two rounds to play, four strokes behind leader Madelene Sagstrom from Sweden (67).

American Ally McDonald (65) was in outright second at 12-under.

Lee first won the Vic Open as a teenaged amateur back in 2014 and saluted again four years later.

She had seven top-three finishes in 26 outings last year on the LPGA Tour but only claimed the one victory at the LA Open.

The $1.5 million Vic Open is being co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour for a second straight year.

"I will definitely go off my past experiences and other wins I have had," said Lee.

"There is still a lot of golf to be played so I am just going to go one shot at a time and just play my own game.

"With the experience I have had winning here before it gives me a little bit of confidence if I do get into (difficult situations)."

The only other Australian in the top 19 is Robyn Choi, who had back-to-back eagles for the first time in her career in a eight-under 65 which left her tied for third at 10-under.

"This is my lowest round I've had in a tournament," said the former US collegiate star, who lost her card after her rookie year on the LPGA Tour in 2019.

"I am excited, going into the weekend and being in contention - I haven't had that in my professional career yet."

South Korean Jeong Eun Lee, at No.8 the highest-ranked player in the field this week, had a second-round 69 to be well-placed at eight-under.

Australian Hannah Green, who won her first major last year at the Women's PGA Championship, had a disappointing second round of 73 to slip back to three-under to just make the halfway cut.

Among the prominent players to miss out on the weekend action were defending Vic Open champion Celine Boutier from France and England's Laura Davies (both one-under) and Australia's seven-time major winner Karrie Webb (even par).


AAP