Date: February 22, 2014
Author: ALPG

Can Lee Win? Smith Close Enough

Western Australian amateur Minjee Lee will have her best chance of winning her first professional event in Sunday s final round of the Oates Vic Open. Lee fired an impressive six-under-par 68 on another overcast and breezy day on the Beach Course at 13th Beach Golf Links to sit atop of the leaderboard at 10-under-par and will take a three shot advantage into Sunday. The 17-year-old has been in contention in the last couple of weeks at the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters and ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, however she hasn t been able to pull off her first professional victory. Her closest rival is second round leader Sarah Jane Smith, who carded even par round of 74 to be at seven-under-par. Fellow amateur, Su Oh, is outright third at five-under-par. The young Victorian got herself into contention by firing a superb seven-under-par 67. The reigning Australian amateur champion, Lee, got off to a rocky start with a bogey on the 2nd, however, she then strung together three consecutive birdies from 4th hole, a par on the 7th was promptly followed by another birdie and then an eagle on the short par 5 9th. She went out in five-under-par 32. All pars and a lone birdie on the par 14th saw her come back in one-under-par, 36. About her round today, she had said I just hit one close and then got on a roll. Lee is happy with her position and the experience that she has gained over the past couple of weeks is certainly helping. The more I put myself into that position the better I am feeling. For Smith it was a very much a grinding day, she had a rough patch in the middle of her round where nothing went right and she hit some bad shots. However, the 29-year-old fought back well with three birdies in her closing five holes, including holing a 70 foot putt on the 17th. About her game plan for Sunday and chasing down Lee, I still feel good with where I am at, I shot even with that disaster in the middle. If I can get off to a good start tomorrow and take advantage some of those pars anything can happen. Two shots further back and outright fourth is ACT s Nikki Campbell (72), while Scotland s Vikki Laing (67) and defending champion Stacey Keating (72) are at two-under-par. NSW s Sarah Kemp (70), England s Laura Davies (71) and American Hannah Jun (73) share seventh position at one-under-par. Swede Sophie Gustafson is at even par and rounds out the top 10.