Lee credits Japan win for lead

EVIAN (France) • South Korean golfer Lee Mi Hyang added a 67 to her opening 66 on Friday to take the outright halfway lead on nine-under 133 at the Evian Championship, the final women's Major of the season.

The 22-year-old, who won her first LPGA event at the Mizuno Classic in Japan at the end of last season, led by one from American Morgan Pressel and by two from Denmark's Nicole Broch Larsen.

"Winning in Japan was pretty big," said Lee. "It was in a play-off so that was a big experience. After that tournament, there has been a good change in my golf."

The overnight co-leader with Lexi Thompson, Lee made her professional debut at the Evian Championship last year. She also credits her new caddie, Mike Carrick, with helping her to her first 36-hole lead in an LPGA event.


Winning in Japan was pretty big. It was in a play-off so that was a big experience. After that tournament, there has been a good change in my golf.


Her father hired Carrick, who was on Tom Kite's bag when he won the 1992 US Open. Lee said his experience had helped her a lot.

"But I know I need to concentrate more if I'm going to win a Major. And I wasn't happy with my putting today," she said, referring to an 18-foot putt for birdie that she missed at the par-three 16th.

Pressel carded a six-under 65 as she set about adding a second Major to the Kraft Nabisco Championship she won in 2007.

It has been five years since she won on the LPGA Tour but she hit form with eight birdies.

"I had a really good three days last week with my coach Ron Stockton back home and I just really prepared for these two weeks," said Pressel, who will be in Team USA for the Solheim Cup starting in Germany on Friday.

American Thompson could manage only a 72 and was five off the lead, alongside Lydia Ko, 18.

The New Zealander, wearing tape on her knee and ankle, is trying to replace Pressel as the youngest winner of a women's Major.

"I turned my ankle walking down the 14th yesterday but it's not sore enough to bother me," she said.

Ko dropped a shot at the last for a second straight 69. World No. 1 Park In Bee, who has won two Majors this year, also shot 69 but is eight shots behind Lee.

Defending champion Kim Hyo Joo had a 69 to finish on level-par 142.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 13, 2015, with the headline 'Lee credits Japan win for lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe