FRENCH LICK, Indiana, July 8, 2017 - Erynne Lee (Silverdale, Washington) turned in a bogey-free 5-under, 66 to move to the top of the leaderboard after 36 holes at the Donald Ross Centennial Classic in French Lick. Lee, who is 7-under for the tournament, will go for her second career win on Sunday.
No. 2 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list, Benyapa Niphatsophon (Bangkok, Thailand), is one off the lead at 6-under, 136.
August Kim (Saint Augustine, Florida), Hyemin Kim (Seoul, South Korea), Victoria Morgan (Pasadena, Calif.), Christine Song (Fullerton, Calif.) and Caroline Inglis (Eugene, Oregon) are just two back at 5-under.
A total of 65 players made the cut at 2-over, 144.
The final round on Sunday will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the final pairing of Lee, Niphatsophon and Kim will tee at 9:42 a.m. The Senior LPGA Championship Honors Division, which consists of nine players, will also compete on Sunday for a separate purse of $25,000. The winner of the Senior LPGA Championship Honors Division will earn $4,000. The Honors Division includes: Mindy Moore, Debbie Austin, Sandra Haynie, Sandra Palmer, Murle Breer, Shelley Hamlin, Sally Little, Jane Blalock and Jan Stephenson.
Lee, 24, started on the back nine with birdies on holes 10 and 11. She turned in 32 with a third birdie on her outward nine on hole 16. Lee made birdies on holes five and eight on her inward nine.
“It was important to be committed for every shot, that is the key to playing really good golf out here,” said Lee, who ranks 23rd on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. “I was striking it really well and putting myself in good spots and giving myself a lot of opportunities for birdies. There were a couple places where I missed the green, but I was able to get and down.”
Lee attempted just 27 putts.
“During the first days of practice rounds, everyone was commenting on what Donald Ross was thinking when he was making the course so I think it really does challenge you,” said Lee. “You have to really focus on every shot.”
Lee made four birdies and two bogeys in round one on Friday.
She has hit 25 of 28 fairways and 30 of 36 greens in regulation through 36 holes.
Lee got off to a slow start in 2017, missing the cut in three of her first seven starts. She has turned it on since. She recorded her first top 10 finish in early June at the Fuccillo Kia Classic of NY (T4) and has finished inside the top 20 in four of her last five starts.
“I’ve regained my confidence at the midway point of the season,” said Lee, the former UCLA star. “It’s good to find the form before it is too late and I hope to have continued success.”
It’s especially good to be peaking now as the winner of the Donald Ross Centennial Classic earns a hefty payday of $30,000.
“People always say that you want to play well in the middle and end rather than the beginning,” said Lee. “I just want to improve each day and each tournament.”
Lee had a strong rookie season on the Symetra Tour in 2016 when she won the season-opener at the IOA Championship and finished 17th on the money list.