Lee now up by three; Pagdanganan slows down
Minjee Lee of Australia went low with a 9-under 63 on Friday to take the 36-hole lead at the Cognizant Founders Cup in Clifton, New Jersey.
Lee’s round featured eight birdies, an eagle and just one bogey. It helped her build a three-shot advantage over Ally Ewing, Lexi Thompson and Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom, who enter the weekend tied for second at 11 under.
The Philippines’ Bianca Pagdanganan coughed up a 72 and dropped six shots off the lead with a two-round total of 5-under. Filipino Japanese Yuka Saso rebounded with a 68 and climbed to 3-under, eight shots off pace.
Lee holed a lengthy putt to eagle the par-5 12th at Upper Montclair Country Club. She was on track for a career-low 62 before her lone bogey at No. 16 brought her back a shot.
“I go pretty much shot by shot and not get too far ahead of myself,” Lee said. “When I had a putt I tried to hole it. When I had a shot I tried to hit it close.”
Lee is searching for her first win on the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association Tour since the Evian Championship—her first major title—last July.
Sagstrom led after the first round thanks to her own 63 on Thursday, but starting on the back nine on Friday, she was 2 over par for her round through five holes. She recovered with a birdie at No. 18 and three more on the front to shoot a 2-under 70.
Thompson shot a bogey-free 66, and Ewing matched the 66 with seven birdies and just one bogey.
Finland’s Sanna Nuutinen shot a 4-under 68 to take sole possession of fifth place at 9 under. Paula Reto of South Africa (67), Carlota Ciganda of Spain (69) and Megan Khang (72) were tied for sixth at 8 under. —REUTERS