Minjee Lee Takes 3-Stroke Lead at Cognizant Founders Cup

Australia’s Minjee Lee went low with a nine-under 63 on Friday to take a 36-hole lead at the Cognizant Founders Cup in Clifton, New Jersey.

Lee’s round featured eight birdies, one eagle and only one bogey. She helped her build a three-shot lead over Ally Ewing, Lexi Thompson and Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom, who enter the weekend tied for second at 11 under.

Lee holed a long putt to mark the par-5 12th hole at Upper Montclair Country Club. He was on course for a career-low 62 before his only bogey at No. 16 hit him back.

“I go pretty much shot for shot and I don’t get too far ahead of myself,” Lee said. “When I had a putt, I was trying to hole it. When I had a shot, I was trying to hit it close.”

Lee is seeking his first victory on the LPGA Tour since the Evian Championships, his first major title, last July.

Sagstrom led after the first round thanks to his own 63 on Thursday, but starting with the back nine, he was 2-over-par in his five-hole round. He bounced back with a birdie on No. 18 and three more up front to shoot a two-under 70.

“I was talking to (caddie Shane Codd) and I think I was trying too hard,” Sagstrom said. “Trying to find the same drive that I had yesterday and it just wasn’t there, so I guess I had to calm down.”

Thompson shot a bogeyless 66 and Ewing matched the 66 with seven birdies and just one bogey. Thompson was pleased to improve his performance over the back nine of a Thursday 1-over-3 37 to 3-under 33 on Friday.

“My first nine was definitely a little sketchy (Thursday). It wasn’t my best ball shot,” Thompson said. “I just felt a little out of place. But I just tried to scratch going into the spin… Let’s start scratching and shooting the pins and committing to my shots. That’s all I can do.”

New Jersey was also the scene of Thompson’s last win on tour: the 2019 ShopRite LPGA Classic.

Finn Sanna Nuutinen shot a four-under 68 to take sole possession of fifth place at nine under. South Africa’s Paula Reto (67), Spain’s Carlota Ciganda (69) and Megan Khang (72) were tied for sixth place at 8-under.

Eighty players made the 1-under cut or better, including defending champion and World No. 1 Jin Young Ko of South Korea (5-under). Sixteen-year-old amateur Anna Davis shot a second straight 70 to make the cut at 4-under, her second cut in as many starts on tour.

–Field level media

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