Date: April 15, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Hour of power puts Lee in command

An explosive hour of golf has Minjee Lee in control of the LPGA Tour’s Lotte Championship in Hawaii.

The West Australian, joint overnight leader at -4, began with a birdie but showed no sign of what was to come with six straight pars until she knocked her tee shot tight on the par-3 eighth at Ko Olina in Oahu.

But with that birdie under her belt, the world No.17 went flag hunting and fired another four birdies in the next five holes en route a stellar six-under-par 66.

American Katie Burnett matched the round late in the afternoon to reach eight under, but couldn’t come within two of the Australian’s lead.

It capped a great day for the Aussie contingent, all of whom will be around for the weekend action.

Su Oh lost ground with a 73, but was still comfortably inside the +2 cut at even par, one behind world No.1 Lydia Ko, of New Zealand.

New South Welshwoman Sarah Kemp fired a tidy 70 to slide up to one over, alongside compatriot Sarah-Jane Smith, while Katherine Kirk mixed three birdies with three bogeys in a 72 that got her in at the number.

But the field all looks up at Lee, whose maiden LPGA Tour triumph came in May last year at the Kingsmill Classic in Virginia in her rookie season.

The 19-year-old has been a model of consistency this 2016 LPGA season having not finished worse than 40th in her eight starts with her best result a tie for eighth in Thailand.

With a win this weekend, Lee is projected to move to No.7 on the Tour’s Race to the CME Globe standings.