Date: June 10, 2016
Author: Martin Blake

Lee’s late flurry puts her in major contention

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Minjee Lee will carry fond memories into the second round after a closing birdie gave her a one-under par 70 and a spot on the leaderboard at the season's second major, the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Sahalee Golf near Seattle today.

Australia's Lee, just 20 and already pushing toward the top 10 players in the world, hit a beautiful iron shot from the rough at the 18th that trickled up beside the flag, giving her a one-metre putt for a birdie and leaving her tied for fourth.

It completed a fine day on the tough Sahalee course, with its hundreds of trees lining the fairways. Only a small number of players managed to break par.

Lee, already a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour, is three shots from the lead held by Canada's

Brooke Henderson, whose 67 included a hole in one with a seven iron shot at the par-three 13th hole.

The Western Australian star has made it clear that the next step for her, having won on the LPGA Tour in consecutive seasons, is to contend in a major. Her previous best finish in any of the five women's majors is ninth at the Women's British Open last year.

Another Australian, Katherine Kirk, is making a run at the championship at even par, just outside the top 10, while veteran Karrie Webb had two double bogeys in her opening 74.  Victoria's Su Oh and Queensland's Sarah Jane Smith had 73s to begin the week.

Meanwhile world No. 1 Lydia Ko began with an even-par 71.

Multiple major winner Inbee Park was the other focus of the day. When the South Korean tapped in at the last she had officially qualified for the LPGA Hall of Fame, having completed 10 continuous years on the circuit.