Australian Minjee Lee will adopt an attacking mindset after she joined the chasing pack looking to reel in American Ally Ewing at the AIG Women’s Open.
Leader by one after Round 1, Ewing (66) threatened to turn the year’s final major into a cakewalk, moving out to a seven-stroke lead when she made five birdies in the space of six holes around the turn.
Hometown favourite Charley Hull (68), Andrea Lee (68) and Minami Katsu (69) would trim that deficit to two by day’s end, Ewing five clear at 10-under par to tie the record for largest 36-hole lead in the championship’s history.
Although seven strokes from the lead, Lee played her way into the tournament with a round of 3-under 69.
She began with a birdie at the opening hole and added a second at eight to turn in 2-under.
A birdie at 11 was followed by a bogey shortly thereafter on 13, a fourth birdie of the day at the par-5 16th bringing her to within striking distance.
The 27-year-old was seven shots back going into the final round of the 2021 Evian Championship that she would go on to win in a playoff and knows how to approach the final two rounds.
“She put two great scores up and we're all chasing her at the moment,” said the two-time major winner.
“I think we can be pretty aggressive. I can be pretty aggressive come the weekend.”
More accessible hole locations made for slightly better scoring on day two at Walton Heath Golf Club, Ewing’s 66 the round of the day.
The large putting surfaces provide for numerous birdie opportunities for those players who can dial in their approach shots.
“Obviously the par-5s, they seem like you can get quite close to,” Lee said of the holes where you can make up ground.
“You can get on 16, you can get quite close to six. But there's some holes that are quite short.
“The par 4s, you only have wedges into them. If you can capitalise on those, I think you'll be in a good position.”
Only one other Australian survived the cut-line of 2-over, Sydney’s Grace Kim to start Round 3 in a tie for 28th at 1-under par.
Kim was 2-under on her round through 11 holes on Friday but a double bogey on 13 and bogey at the last saw her post even-par 72 for her second round.
A back nine of 2-over 39 saw Stephanie Kyriacou (74) miss the cut on the number as Sarah Kemp (77), Kelsey Bennett (76) and Hannah Green (76) also failed to advance to the final two rounds.
Round 2 scores
1 Ally Ewing 68-66—134
T9 Minjee Lee 72-69—141
T28 Grace Kim 71-72—143
MC Steph Kyriacou 73-74—147
MC Lydia Ko (NZ) 74-74—148
MC Sarah Kemp 71-77—148
MC Hannah Green 73-76—149
MC Kelsey Bennett 73-76—149
Round 3 tee times AEST
9.25pm Rose Zhang, Grace Kim
10.55pm Minjee Lee, Aditi Ashok
Photo: Steph Chambers/R&A/R&A via Getty Images