Date: June 22, 2014
Author: Martin Blake /

Lee in striking distance at US Open

<image="1" align="left" />Australia's teenaged phenomenon Minjee Lee is in with a chance of winning the biggest prize in the women's game, the US Women's Open at Pinehurst, going into the final round.

 Lee, 18 and a member of Golf Australia's national amateur squad, carded a two-over 72 in the third round today to end the third round tied-third, just four shots back from the lead held by Michelle Wie and Amy Yang.

 “Yeah, I don't think I drove it how I really wanted to today. I was kind of spraying it a bit. But I recovered quite well some of the holes. Yeah, happy with that. Yeah, I think there's always room for improvement,” Lee said.

 It is the Perth amateur's second appearance in a major, although she has contended in professional tournaments before, winning the Oates Victorian Open at 13th Beach earlier this year and was just outside the top 10 at the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open at Victoria in February after leading into the final round but closing with a 78.

 “I played with Amy (Yang) today and she was playing really, really good. Yeah, I think there's a benchmark that you have to make around here and I think she's at it. So just be patient and just take one shot at a time, I think that will be a good path to go down,” Lee said.

 Lee hit a gorgeous iron shot close to the flag at the 17th for a birdie but drove into the native area at the 18th and made bogey to finish at two-over par through three rounds. Any sub-par score on the final day would give her a chance on the long and tough Pinehurst No. 2 lay-out.

 Already the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world, Lee is showing that she is among the best players in the world, full stop. Hailing from Royal Fremantle, she intends turning professional this year and heading to the LPGA Tour qualifying school.

 Veteran Karrie Webb also is not without a chance at three-over-par, tied-seventh after the third round.

 Well, at the end of the day we’re both — both opponents and we're both playing for the crown, right? So she's always helping us, but not in that context,” Lee added.

 Asked if she felt Webb still wanted to beat her, Lee replied “Yeah, definitely.

 Meanwhile Wie is in the final group with a chance of winning her first major at two-under par, while South Korean Yang is a familiar face to Australians; she attended high school on the Gold Coast and shot to fame in 2006 when she won the Australian Ladies Masters as a 16-year-old.