Defending Champion Minjee Lee of Australia Takes 3-Shot Lead Into Founders Cup Finale


CLIFTON, N.J. (AP) — Defending champion Minjee Lee of Australia overcame a gap bogey for a 5-under 67 and a three-stroke lead Saturday, heading within the closing spherical of the Founders Cup.

No. 6 on the earth, Lee had 4 birdies and an eagle after dropping a stroke on the par-4 first at Higher Montclair Nation Membership. The 26-year-old had a 12-under 204 complete in her bid to hitch Jin Younger Ko as the one gamers to efficiently defend a title within the occasion that honors the 13 founding members of the LPGA Tour.

Ko gained in 2019 and 2021. The occasion was not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

American Angel Yin and South Korean rookie Hae Ran Ryu shared second place, a shot forward of Ko, Ashleigh Buhai and Aditi Ashok. Grace Kim and Cheyenne Knight have been tied for seventh, 5 photographs behind the chief.

Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis, who gained this occasion in 2013, was in 6 below together with Atthaya Thitikul, Nasa Hataoka and first-round chief Sei Younger Kim, who shot a 68 after a second-round 76.

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Sarah Kemp, whose shared the midway lead with Ko, ballooned to a 75 on Saturday, 10 photographs greater than her second spherical. The 37-year-old Australian who has by no means gained on tour was seven photographs off the lead.

Lee’s errant drive on the opening gap led to her bogey. She birdied Nos. 2, 6, 8 and 9 on the entrance facet, jarring a 50-footer on the par-3 eighth. Her eagle got here from 20 toes on the par-5 twelfth.

She is the one participant within the discipline to shoot all her rounds within the 60s on the tight, tree-lined course that locations a premium on hitting the fairways.

Ko, who gained her second straight HSBC Girls’s World Championship in March, was inconsistent in her spherical, which she completed with a birdie.

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