Australia’s Lee leads Los Angeles Open

Minjee Lee said she has a solid ‘iron play’. (Reuters pic)

LOS ANGELES: Minjee Lee, who is seeking her fifth title on the USLPGA Tour, fired a two-under 69 in the second round of the Los Angeles Open to take a one shot lead over Nanna Koerstz Madsen.

The fourth-ranked Lee, of Australia, had an eagle, two birdies and two bogeys to reach seven-under 135 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club.

“I think it’s a second-shot golf course, so obviously it’s pretty generous off the tee,” said Lee, who is from Perth.

“If you have solid iron play then it’s really going to help you. I think that’s what I’m good at. That’s what is really helping me.”

Lee was tied for third last week in Hawaii for her third top-three finish of the season.

On Friday, she holed a wedge from 114 yards out for eagle on the par-four 14th.

“Out of all the ones that I have been close to making, I think that’s the only one that I actually saw drop into the hole,” Lee said. “It was pretty cool to see it happen for the first time.”

Denmark’s Madsen was second after a four-under 67.

“If you hit a good drive you get rewarded and you don’t have too far on the green, but if you’re a little bit off-line then it gets hard,” she said.

Morgan Pressel (66) and Mexico’s Gaby Lopez (68) were tied for third at five under.

“This course kind of has its quirks to where if you get on the wrong side of the pin it can be really challenging to get it up and down and save par,” American Pressel said. “I played smart and gave myself a lot of opportunities.”

Lee’s Australian compatriot Hannah Green got off to a roaring start by making birdie on three of the first six holes to get to nine under.

But Green, also from Perth, went five over in the final 12 holes to finish with a disappointing two-over 73 and is four shots back of the lead.

She had a double bogey after finding the water on a par-four and also had three bogeys.

“I just hit a really bad shot and got into the water,” Green said of No. 17.

“Couldn’t really get myself out of jail, but definitely did not have the putter rolling as much as I would’ve liked. Had a couple three-putts, so that was pretty disappointing.”