Daly City, Calif. – Minjee Lee, 16, of Australia, owns a 1-up lead over 17-year-old Alison Lee, of Valencia, Calif., after the morning 18 of Saturday’s scheduled 36-hole championship match at the 64th U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced Golf Club.
Minjee Lee, the world’s eighth-ranked player according to the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, gained a 1-up advantage with a conceded 2-foot birdie at the par-3 eighth hole. She extended her lead to 2 up with a winning par at the 11 th hole before Alison Lee, competing in her sixth and final Girls’ Junior, trimmed the deficit with a winning two-putt par at the par-3 15th hole.
Alison Lee, who made the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open two weeks ago and won a tournament to get into the Kraft Nabisco Championship in March, had chances to win holes 16 and 17, but failed to convert birdie opportunities. She missed from 12 feet at No. 16 and from 9 feet at No. 17.
Both players had similar downhill 10-foot birdie looks at the par-5 18th hole. Each missed left, giving Minjee Lee the slight advantage going into the lunch break.
The best weather of the week greeted the players on Saturday morning. Not a cloud was in the sky and there was just a hint of a breeze throughout the morning session. Temperatures hovered in the 60s and were expected to possibly reach into the 70s.
Alison Lee delivered the first blow with a 25-foot birdie at No. 1. The match returned to all square at No. 4 when Lee failed to get up and down for par and Minjee Lee holed a short par putt after just missing the green to the right.
Alison Lee also had a golden chance to win the seventh hole, but lipped out a 6-foot birdie putt. Alison finally holed a big putt at No. 14 for birdie to earn a halve after Minjee Lee reached in two and two-putted from 40 feet.
Minjee Lee shot the equivalent of even-par 72, with the usual match-play concessions, hitting 10 of 14 fairways and eight of 18 greens. Alison Lee shot 1-over 73, hitting nine of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens.
The afternoon 18 is scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m. PDT.