Western Australian amateur Minjee Lee will have her best chance of winning her first professional event in Sunday’s final round of the Oates Vic Open.
Lee fired an impressive six-under-par 68 on another overcast and breezy day on the Beach Course at 13th Beach Golf Links to sit atop of the leaderboard at 10-under-par and will take a three shot advantage into Sunday.
The 17-year-old has been in contention in the last couple of weeks at the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters and ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, however she hasn’t been able to pull off her first professional victory.
Her closest rival is second round leader Sarah Jane Smith, who carded even par round of 74 to be at seven-under-par. Fellow amateur, Su Oh, is outright third at five-under-par. The young Victorian got herself into contention by firing a superb seven-under-par 67.
The reigning Australian amateur champion, Lee, got off to a rocky start with a bogey on the 2nd, however, she then strung together three consecutive birdies from 4th hole, a par on the 7th was promptly followed by another birdie and then an eagle on the short par 5 9th. She went out in five-under-par 32. All pars and a lone birdie on the par 14th saw her come back in one-under-par, 36.
About her round today, she had said “I just hit one close and then got on a roll.”
Lee is happy with her position and the experience that she has gained over the past couple of weeks is certainly helping. “The more I put myself into that position the better I am feeling.”
Sarah Jane Smith
For Smith it was a very much a grinding day, she had a rough patch in the middle of her round where nothing went right and she hit some bad shots. However, the 29-year-old fought back well with three birdies in her closing five holes, including holing a 70 foot putt on the 17th.
About her game plan for Sunday and chasing down Lee, “I still feel good with where I am at, I shot even with that disaster in the middle. If I can get off to a good start tomorrow and take advantage some of those pars anything can happen.”
Two shots further back and outright fourth is ACT’s Nikki Campbell (72), while Scotland’s Vikki Laing (67) and defending champion Stacey Keating (72) are at two-under-par. NSW’s Sarah Kemp (70), England’s Laura Davies (71) and American Hannah Jun (73) share seventh position at one-under-par. Swede Sophie Gustafson is at even par and rounds out the top 10.