Golf: South Korea's Lee6 fires bogey-free 63 to seize LPGA Queen City C'ship lead

Lee6 Jeong-eun stands on 13-under 131 after 36 holes at the LPGA Queen City Championship. PHOTO: AFP

CINCINNATI - South Korea's Lee6 Jeong-eun fired a bogey-free nine-under 63 to grab a one-stroke lead after Friday's second round of the inaugural LPGA Queen City Championship.

The world No. 43 birdied six of the first 10 holes in her low round of the season to stand on 13-under 131 after 36 holes at Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"It was a good, bogey-free round," Lee6 said. "It has been a while (since) I played bogey-free so I'm really satisfied with my game. Two more rounds, so I'm going to focus just on what I'm doing."

China's Lin Xiyu (68) was second on 132 with American Ally Ewing (64) third on 133 and Australian Sarah Kemp (68) and Mexico's Maria Fassi (66) sharing fourth on 134.

Lee6 won her only Major and LPGA Tour title at the 2019 US Women's Open, the same year she collected the LPGA Rookie of the Year award, while she was also a runner-up at the 2021 Evian Championship.

Swing work has been a major part of the 26-year-old's preparation to get back to the top of the women's game.

"I'm fixing my swing these days. I focused on my downswing. That's why I finished strong," she said. "I'm still not comfortable with my swing but it's getting better. I'm struggling (with) my swing but I gained confidence a lot from today."

Lee6 birdied the par-five second and par-four fifth holes, then reeled off four birdies in a row starting at the par-four seventh.

She added birdies at the par-five 12th and par-three 14th and a final birdie putt from 20 feet at the par-four 16th.

Playing partner Lin, the 18-hole leader after an opening 64, birdied the first and last holes with birdies at the seventh and 12th in a bogey-free 68. "All I'm doing is trying to catch Six," she said. "It was nice to play with her. We definitely helped each other out a little bit, staying aggressive.

"I feel like I hit it even better than yesterday. For the putts it (was) just little lip out here and there."

Lin is seeking her first tour title on her 188th career LPGA start and came close in March in Thailand, where she lost a play-off to Denmark's Nanna Koerstz Madsen.

"It's easier to be only one behind than a couple behind," Lin said. "I wanted to have a little breakthrough this year, so I think the more times I got to knock on the door the better." AFP

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