Lee bridges early problems

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Minjee Lee fired seven birdies in her third round 67 in Los Angeles.

If how you return from adversity counts, Minjee Lee has one hand on the LA Open title in California.

Western Australia Lee (-11) takes a one-stroke lead in the final of tomorrow, looking for her fifth career LPGA Tour title.

She will be re-paired with Dane Nanna Koerstz Madsen (-10) in the final group after they leave the field in a tumultuous third round.

Fellow Perth golfer Hannah Green remains a distant hope for a breakthrough victory after an even par 71 left her in a group sharing 10th out of four under par.

Queenslanders Sarah Jane Smith (71 for even par) and Katherine Kirk (72 for one parent) are too far back to fight after the nine recurring demonstrations of their countryman.

Lee started fiercely with a few birds, but gave them back and more when she had an uncharacteristic triple bogeyman seven in the par-four third hole.

But instead of boiling, the Royal Fremantle member answered with four consecutive three – two for par and two more for birds on the sixth and seventh holes – when she regained the lead and her calm.

In the meantime, the legendary Korean Inbee Park injected itself briefly into part of the lead with five front-nine birdies, but her putter got cold and, combined with a bogey on the 17th, she fell back to seven under, four drifting from Lee.

The dual Vic Open winner seemed to be ready to kick well when she placed a parachute on the par-five 15th in a row. But a three-point par kept her rivals in contact and provided Madsen with the lift in good time.

The Dane, looking for her first win on the LPGA Tour, birdied three in a row from the 15th to climb back into the title hunt and missed a chance to level with Lee at the last minute when she did a short birdie-try tried.

Top-ranked Jin Young Ko and Morgan Pressel have finished at six o'clock and see the last contenders to spoil the leader team.


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