Date: May 20, 2016
Author: Martin Blake

Lee in touch defending Kingsmill

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Australia's Minjee Lee is back in contention on the LPGA Tour as she defends the title she won last year at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

Lee hit the outright lead through 17 holes at six-under in the first round of the $US 1.3 million event, but made her only bogey of the day at the 18th to card a 66.

Around the same time Japan's Mika Miyazoto posted six-under to take the first round lead with a 65.

Lee, 19, a member of Golf Australia's rookie squad, could leap into the top 10 on the world rankings with a strong finish this week. She is currently a career-high No. 12.

The Perth teenager said she felt comfortable at the Kingsmill Resort course. "I felt pretty calm the whole week, but just on the tee I felt a little nerves and more excitement that they said that I was the defending champion, so that was pretty cool, and it's nice to hear that,'' she said.

"I'm here to play my own game, and I'm trying to hit the best shots that I can out there one shot at a time. No, I just try not to think about it and just try not to put external pressure on myself.''

Her compatriot Su Oh also made a good start, carding a 69 to be tied-21st. Melburnian Oh has earned her place on the LPGA Tour with a good start to the season, and remains on track to win a full playing card for next season.