Defending champion Minjee Lee of Australia overcame an opening bogey to fire a 67 and claim a three-shot lead at the Cognizant Founders Cup on Saturday in Clifton, N.J.
Lee sits at 12-under-par 204, three shots ahead of South Korean and tour rookie Hae Ran Ryu (70 on Saturday) and Angel Yin (68). Lee also had the 54-hole lead on her way to victory in 2022.
“I’m sure I’ll be nervous coming down the first hole, but I think they’re good nerves,” Lee said about her mindset for Sunday. “I feel pretty good about the golf course and how I’m hitting it, so just going to play my game and play aggressively when I can and play smart when I have to. Stick to my processes and game plan, which I have been doing.”
Lee’s round culminated with an eagle on the par-5 12th hole at the Upper Montclair Country Club.
“Some of the par-5s are reachable in two,” Lee said. “Few holes you can really go for it with some wedges.”
Aditi Ashok (71), Ashleigh Buhai (68) and second-round co-leader Jin Young Ko (72) are four shots back in a tie for fourth. Cheyenne Knight (71) and Grace Kim (68) are tied for seventh at 7 under.
Second-round co-leader Sarah Kemp dropped 12 spots with a 75 on Saturday.
Yin is shooting for her first career victory in her 149th career LPGA start. She carded five birdies after a bogey on the par-5 second hole.
“I think this course really tests you to be patient, play your shots,” Yin said. “I had a four bogeys in the first day and then I think two or three yesterday and then one today, and they’re not huge mistakes, but if you just are not 100 percent there, then it just — it bites you in the back real quick. The birdies are not easy, either.”
Ryu had a chaotic round, recording six birdies against four bogeys. She’s also hoping to rebound to become a first-time winner.
“Today I think that there is not that good points of today’s round, but I think a lot of bad points today,” Ryu said.
–Field Level Media