Minjee Lee’s New Jersey triumph

Three late birdies have delivered Minjee Lee the seventh LPGA Tour title of her career at the Cognizant Founders Cup at Upper Montclair Country Club in New Jersey.

Media release

A one-shot leader at the start of the final round, Lee had to battle through struggles with her normally stellar iron play to stave off a charging Lexi Thompson, holing a three-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole for a closing two-under 70, a 19-under total and a two-shot victory.

A superb second round of nine-under 63 put Lee in position to record her first win since her major breakthrough at last year’s Amundi Evian Championship but she would have to conjure willpower over execution to get it done.

What would ultimately prove to be a good bogey, Lee’s dropped shot after missing the green with her tee shot at the par-3 eighth brought Thompson (69) and Angel Yin (67) into the fight for the outright lead.

The trio were tied at the top early in the back nine and when Lee and Thompson both made birdie at the par-5 12th were locked together at 17-under with six holes to play.

Although her brilliant wedge into the tournament’s final hole was the perfect exclamation point, the 25-year-old credited her win with the birdie at the par-5 14th that restored her status as the solo leader.

“I knew the last four holes would be tough to make birdies on so I figured that if I made birdie on 14 it would give me a pretty good chance to be leading or tied leading going into 18,” explained Lee, who is now fourth on the all-time list of Australian winners on the LPGA Tour behind Karrie Webb (41), Jan Stephenson (16) and Rachel Hetherington (eight).

“That’s what turned the tables a little bit.

“In the very beginning I missed a couple of short putts and didn’t really catch that momentum.

“Through the middle and towards the end of my round my ball-striking kind of went out the window.

“I fought really hard this whole day and to finish with a couple of birdies and come out with the win is just really special.”

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