Date: February 22, 2019
Author: Martin Blake

Minjee Lee near Thailand lead

A late bogey cost Australia's Minjee Lee the outright lead at the halfway point of the Honda LPGA Thailand tournament in Pattaya today.

Subdued in the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, Lee has suddenly found her best form in Thailand.

The top-ranked Australian player in the world at No. 7, Lee fired a second-round 69 to leap to the top of the leadboard in the Honda LPGA Thailand tournament for much of the day.

The 23-year-old Perth superstar was near-faultless in her second round having started a shot behind first-round leader Eun Hee Ji of South Korea. She caught Ji by the time she birdied the first, fifth and seventh, and then pulled away, bombing her tee shot on the 240-metre par-four 15th on to the green and almost making eagle.

She also made a crucial par-saving putt after trouble on the par-four 14th hole but one mistake at the par-five 18th cost her the outright lead. Just short of the green for two, her chip to the two-tiered green trickled back off the putting surface and left her farther away than she started. A bogey ensued that lifted Lizette Salas of the USA and Jenny Shin of South Korea into a share of the lead.

Then Shin, in the group behind, made a three-metre birdie putt to take the outright lead at 11-under, a shot ahead of Lee and Salas at 10-under. Another Australian, Katherine Kirk, is also in the mix at seven-under par.

Meanwhile at Bonville on the ALPG Tour, Spain's Nuria Itturios took the lead in the co-sanctioned Ladies European Tour Australian Ladies Classic with a second-round 67.

But Doey Choi, the 19-year-old Sydney amateur who led after the first round, clung on to second place while Western Australia's Hannah Green vaulted to third through 36 holes.