Minjee Lee remains within reach of a season-ending victory at the LPGA Tour’s CME Group Tour Championship despite a late mishap at Tiburon Golf Club in Florida.
Lee (68) will begin the third round of the $US5 million season finale four strokes back of former Vic Open champion Celine Boutier (65) and in a share of second place alongside Mexico’s Gaby Lopez (68) and American Mina Harigae (69).
Playing with the “silent confidence” that comes from a breakthrough major championship earlier in the year, Lee credited her putter matching up with her brilliant ball-striking to once again be in contention heading into the weekend having held the lead outright midway through the back nine.
“I’ve been striking the ball pretty well pretty much week in, week out,” said Lee, who found the water on the par-4 18th to close her second round with a bogey.
“I’ve been pretty consistent in that respect. The biggest difference is putting. I can always hit it pretty close to the hole, so if I holed the putt or don’t, that’s the biggest difference.”
Now a six-time winner on the LPGA Tour, the question hanging over the 25-year-old was always when she would convert talent into a major championship.
That was answered emphatically at the Aumundi Evian Championship and instilled a greater sense of freedom and belief that she can continue to contend in the game’s biggest events.
“I know that I have it in me,” said Lee, who also credited brother Min Woo’s win at the Scottish Open for providing additional motivation.
“I’ve been out here seven years, but you still go back to feeling like, Oh, do I really belong here, if you don’t win for a little while.
“Not doubt, but just kind of like, Am I going to win again? Just those kind of thoughts.
“It’s just like a little silent confidence for me just so I can go out there and play confidently and know that I can play under pressure and play well under pressure.”
A round of two-under 70 has Su Oh in a tie for 19th through two rounds while after having a share of the lead on day one Hannah Green fell back to a tie for 29th with a one-over par round of 73.
Cameron Smith moved up six spots to be tied for 15th through two rounds of the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort while Jason Scrivener leads the three-man Aussie contingent at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, tied for 20th at the halfway mark of the European Tour’s season finale.