Date: September 03, 2018
Author: Martin Blake

Lee fades to fourth, Alex sizzles on LPGA


Australia’s Minjee Lee endured a last-round nightmare at the LPGA Tour’s Portland Classic in Oregon today, but another top-10 finish leaves her pushing deep toward the top-five in the world.

Perth’s Lee began the final round in the last group with England’s Georgia Hall, just two shots from the lead and in with a chance of winning her second big tournament for 2018 and her fifth on the LPGA tour.

But it quickly evaporated under a barrage from American Marina Alex, in the group behind, and the 22-year-old Lee did not bring her best golf.

Alex rolled in birdie putts on five consecutive holes to complete the front nine in 30, six-under par, and by the time Lee flared her tee shot into water at the par-three eighth and made bogey, she was virtually out of the contest.

Ultimately she closed with a five-over par 77 with five bogeys and not a single birdie in an uncharacteristic last-round performance. Only once in her LPGA Tour career has she closed with a higher final round score.

Still, she is projected to leap a spot in the season-long points race, from third to second behind Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, and her fourth-place finish should allow her to carry some confidence into the season’s final major, the Evian Championship in France next week.

Alex won her first LPGA Tour event in her sixth season with an incredible, closing 65 in which she made everything, save for a lone bogey at the final hole, by which time it was all over as a contest.

She won by four shots from Hall, posting 19-under par overall having begun the week with a 62.

Another Australian, Su Oh, finished just inside the top 10 after closing with a 69 that underlines her rapid improvement in the past few months.