US Open champion Lee6 holds onto lead at Shoprite Classic

New York (AFP) –


Newly crowned US Women's Open champion Lee6 Jeong-eun blasted a two-under 69 Saturday to maintain the lead at the ShopRite Classic heading into the Sunday's final round.

Lee has a two round 10-under 132 total for a one-shot lead over Mariah Stackhouse, who shot a 67 at the Seaview Golf Club in Galloway, New Jersey.

The trio of No. 4-ranked Lexi Thompson (70), Ally McDonald (67) and Nanna Koerstz Madsen (68) are tied for third place at eight under.

Lee is seeking to become the fifth player in Tour history to win the Open and follow it up with a tournament title the next week.

"I wanted to finish strong, and I did, so I'm pretty satisfied with it," said Lee, who started calling herself Lee6 Jeong-eun when she became the sixth player of that name on the Korean LPGA tour.

She has embraced the designation as her lucky charm, even writing the number in bold red ink on her golf ball.

"I am so glad that a lot of Korean fans are here supporting me and cheering for me.

"My goal is to have a good round, have a good time with everyone. I know I'm going to be a little bit nervous, but I'm going to do well tomorrow."

Lee, the world's fifth-ranked player, had an up-and-down round that opened with a birdie-bogey-birdie start.

She made the turn at one under but dropped two shots with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 14 and 15.

Lee finished strong with a birdie at 17 and an eagle at the par-5 18th to put herself in contention for a second consecutive title.

The 25-year-old Stackhouse has made just two cuts in her previous 10 starts this season. She finished in the top 10 in this event last year.

"It's a course that when you're striking it well, it's friendly to you, and it makes you a lot more calm," she said.

Thompson, who tied for second at the Women's Open, carded a mixed round that included a double bogey at the first, and an eagle at the par-five third.

She made three straight birdies beginning on number eight, but then stumbled with bogeys at 13 and 17 before finishing with a birdie on her final hole.