KPMG Women's PGA Championship - Round Two
Credit: Scott Taetsch/PGA of America/Getty Images

If you look at the top seven on the leaderboard through two rounds of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, there’s just one proven major winner standing out – Minjee Lee.

Sure, Jin Young Ko – the world No.1 – and Brooke Henderson – a two-time major champ – are inside the top 10, but it’s Lee who, after a 4-under 67 on Friday, is nipping at the heels of the leader Leona Maguire.

Lee’s 4-under effort was tied for the low round of the day. She sits at 3 under through 36 holes and is just two back of the lead, tied for fifth.

“Today I had a really good back nine and just made two birdies and two bogeys on the front. Pretty solid day overall,” Lee said.

“I had a good day today, so hopefully I can have the good momentum into the weekend.”

Lee got off to a blistering start, going 4 under for her first nine holes of the day after starting on No.10. She made a bogey on the tricky par-4 1st after making the turn but did make birdie on Nos. 4 and 7 before ending her day with a pair of pars. Lee said with less wind – and the course playing a little softer due to an ongoing drizzle through the day – she was able to be a bit more aggressive with her approach shots.

Lee won twice last year including the U.S. Women’s Open by four shots – her second major-championship triumph after winning the Amundi Evian Championship in 2021.

KPMG Women's PGA Championship - Round Two
SPRINGFIELD, NJ - JUNE 23: Minjee Lee hits her shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club on Friday, June 23, 2023 in Springfield, New Jersey. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/PGA of America via Getty Images)
Credit: Scott Taetsch/PGA of America/Getty Images

Despite a slow start to the season, Lee has turned things around on the LPGA Tour the last few weeks. She finished second at the Cognizant Founders Cup in mid-May and has had back-to-back results of T13 in her last two events. Her ball striking has been particularly solid this year, as she sits sixth in Greens in Regulation. She hit 14 of 18 greens on Friday and found something with her putting on Friday – needing five fewer putts than Thursday’s opener.

“Obviously lag putting around here is important, so I've been doing a lot of that. Trying to be able to picture the lines into the holes a little bit better, so I've just been working on that, as well,” Lee said of her work with the flatstick.

Lee’s cheering section this week is down one person at Baltusrol, but her brother – professional golfer Min Woo Lee – has still been a constant presence so far online at least.

Min Woo finished tied for fifth at the U.S. Open last week and that top-10 finish meant he earned his way into the Travelers Championship, a designated event on the PGA Tour. He had plans to be at the KPMG Women’s PGA in person to cheer on his sister, but had to go tee it up on the PGA Tour. Fellow Aussie Adam Scott, in fact, saved Lee a seat from Los Angeles to Connecticut on his private plane.

“That was kind of cool to watch him do so well,” Minjee Lee said of her brother’s effort at the men’s major. “I think he thrives in that atmosphere. Really exciting.”

So far so good for Min Woo Lee, too – he’s tied for seventh through 36 holes on the PGA Tour. But he took to Twitter on Friday afternoon to give his sister some props with a flexing-arm and fingers-crossed emoji.

“Everything was booked. Booked a house and some media stuff, too, for this week at the KPMG, and obviously ended up top 10-ing into this tournament,” Lee said after his opening round on the PGA Tour on Thursday. “Sorry, sis. Had to come play here.”

A Lee-sibling double dip is not out of the question for this weekend, sure. But at the KPMG Women’s PGA, it’s older-sister Minjee Lee that is firmly in the mix for a chance to win a major championship – an awfully big deal.

And after an excellent Friday round in tough conditions, she’s ready to take this one across the finish line.

“Obviously had a really nice day today,” Lee said, “and I'm hoping that the momentum carries on into the weekend.”

Related News