Last week’s Oates Vic Open winner Minjee Lee produced the lowest round of her career to earn a three-stroke lead heading into the final day of the ActewAGL Canberra Classic in Australia.
The 21-year-old from Perth fired a stunning nine-under-par 63 on a hot, humid and overcast day at Royal Canberra Golf Club.
The world number 17, who climbed three places with her win last week at 13th Beach in Victoria, began the second round with an eagle on the long first hole and her round could have been even better had she made her eagle putt from eight feet on the 15th hole.
However, despite a bogey on the fourth hole, eight further birdies contributed to a 36-hole total of 14-under, three clear of Jiyai Shin (68), the overnight leader. Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg (66) is a stroke further behind in third and Anne Van Dam from the Netherlands (68), the longest hitter on tour (below), is fourth on eight-under-par.
Lee said: “If you start off with an eagle, you feel pretty good. I felt good after that and took advantage of the birdie opportunities on the par fives, which you can reach in two. I felt pretty calm out there and hit it pretty solid.”
When asked what it would mean to win back-to-back titles on home soil heading into next week’s Australian Open at Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide, she said: “It would be a big confidence booster at the start of the season and going into next week as well; it would be really special.”
While Lee claimed her fourth professional title last week, Shin has 49 wins around the world and a first victory for Lindberg (below) would perhaps be even more special.
Now in her ninth year on the Ladies European Tour, she has racked up 23 top 10 finishes including two runner-up spots and she started the year strongly with a tie for 29th in the LPGA event in the Bahamas followed by a share of fifth place in last week’s Vic Open.
Lindberg said: “I feel like my career is maybe a little different to others and even though it’s my ninth year on tour I’m slowly getting better each year. I’m quite a patient person so I’m still waiting for it, but it’s absolutely one of my goals that I have written down for this year: to get that first win out here. This year, I’m mostly looking at moving up the world ranking, moving up the money list on the LPGA and getting my first win on the LET. That’s what’s driving me every day.”
The 2016 order of merit winner Beth Allen from the United States and Holly Clyburn of England are tied for fifth place on seven-under, followed by Swede Caroline Hedwall and Kylie Henry at six-under. Fellow Scot Michele Thomson and Thailand’s Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras are tied for tenth spot, with eight different countries represented in the top 10 places.