Photo Credit: 2015 Hunter Martin
Perth’s Minjee Lee stands on the verge of a maiden LPGA Tour triumph after a breathtaking run at the Kingsmill Championship.
Lee, 18, will return tonight (9pm AEST) with a four-shot lead after a withering seven-under-par run in her past eight holes gave her a four-shot buffer.
The Golf Australia rookie pro will resume with another 6m birdie try on the 16th green after heavy rain in Virginia during the afternoon caused a two-hour delay and ultimately play to be called off in fading light.
Lee, ranked 59th in the world, began her round tied for third and showed no signs of her impending scoring explosion when she made bogey on the fourth hole to remain square for her final round.
Then, fuelled by a banana and having “chilled with the girls”, Lee showed the pro world exactly why she had been the world’s top-ranked amateur.
A birdie on the 7th was followed by three more on the 9th, 11th and 13th before a monster putt fell on 14 to give her a two-shot edge.
And that’s when she got really hot.
A 255m blast off the par-five 15th tee was followed by a laser four-iron from 178m to inside 4m for eagle, which she duly rolled in to charge to 16 under.
“Pretty much my putter was rolling pretty hot those holes, and I really set myself up for a good opportunity to make eagle on 15,” said Lee, who said nothing of note changed in her swing as she lit up the course.
“I knew I was right there. I still have some work to do tomorrow, but just kind of gave myself opportunities; played smart golf.
“I didn't do anything crazy. Just my putts seemed it drop.”
Lee leads her fellow Q-School medallist and namesake Alison Lee on 12 under, with five players tied on 10 under.
But with a par three and par four only to play, the result is largely in the West Australian’s hands.
“I just want to play smart, just take it as it comes and just play each shot to the best of my ability. Hopefully (the putts) will roll in tomorrow, too,” Lee said before rushing off to get as much sleep as possible before her early resumption.
Lee had the option of putting out on the 16th, but took her caddie’s advice to wait for them to be freshly mown and more easily readable in the morning light.
In good news, should Lee win the event, she’ll be exempt into July’s US Open and avoid a logistical battle having planned to play a qualifier tonight (Australian time).
You can watch the conclusion of the Kingsmill Championship live on Fox Sports 3 at 9pm AEST