Minjee Lee and Nanna Koerstz Madsen started Saturday’s play at the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open sitting first and second, respectively. Fast forward 18 holes and the duo kept their spots at the top of the leaderboard at Wilshire Country Club. Both players carded third-round 67s on Saturday, with Lee (-11) carrying a one-stroke lead over Koerstz Madsen (-10) into Sunday’s final round.
“I think both of us, Nanna and I, we made a lot of birdies today,” said Lee, who carded seven birdies to Koerstz Madsen’s six. “I think we sort of fed off each other, which was really nice.”
Former Rolex Rankings No. 1 and 19-time LPGA winner Inbee Park shot a 68 on Saturday and jumped into solo third at -7, with current World No. 1 Jin Young Ko and major champion Morgan Pressel tied for fourth at -6.
LEE BOUNCES BACK FROM UNLUCKY 7
Minjee Lee’s 4-under 67 featured seven birdies and one most unfortunate triple-bogey. After opening with consecutive birdies, Lee’s second shot at the par-4 third clipped a tree branch and crashed down 50 yards short of the green. After sending her third shot over the green, Lee ultimately took a 7 on the hole.
“I just sort of tried to forget about it. What can you do that early in the round?” said Lee. “Just try to get it back as much as I could and try and stay in the lead. Yeah, I mean, pretty much what I said before: try and hit as many good shots as I could out there.
LEMONS KEEP KOERSTZ MADSEN COOL ON THE COURSE
Known for her emotions on the course, Nanna Koerstz Madsen worked hard to her cool and stay in contention at the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open. Her process that helps her staying calm? A couple lemons in her bag.
“I have this thing where if I get too nervous or mad, I can take a lemon and bite on the lemon,” said Koerstz Madsen. The second-year LPGA player got the idea from her mental coach and has been using the method all season. “It’s like taking your senses away from whatever you’re on and thinking about this lemon, which is really disgusting and not very nice,” said Koerstz Madsen.
She only bit a lemon once today, after a three-putt on No. 11. Overall, she has felt good on the course over the last three rounds. Koerstz Madsen, who will be in the final grouping for the first time in her LPGA career, said she will not do anything differently tomorrow to stay calm. “Really just focus on my own game,” she said. “If it's enough, that's good and I'm happy with whatever. I mean, I'm already happy with how I've been emotionally this week. Yeah, just going to enjoy tomorrow I think.”
WITH A WIN
Minjee Lee would earn her fifth LPGA Tour victory; only Karrie Webb (41), Jan Stephenson (16) and Rachel Hetherington (8) have more wins among Australian players
With the $225,000 winner’s check, Lee would move to $5,317,468 in career earnings, projecting her to move past Katherine Kirk and become the third-winningest player from Australia, behind Karrie Webb ($20,254,718) and Rachel Hetherington ($5,730,915)
Nanna Koerstz Madsen would become the first player from Denmark to win on the LPGA Tour
Koerstz Madsen would become the season’s second Rolex First-Time Winner, joining Celine Boutier
Rolex Rankings No. 4 Minjee Lee (66-69-67—202)
- This is the fourth time in Lee’s career that she has held the lead after 54 holes; she won the 2016 Blue Bay LPGA and the 2018 LPGA Volvik Championship, and finished second at the 2019 Honda LPGA Thailand
- Lee’s 202 is tied for the third-best 54-hole score of her career
- She hit 10 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 28 putts
- Lee is in her fifth season on the LPGA Tour; she has four career victories, most recently at the 2018 LPGA Volvik Championship
- This is Lee’s ninth event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is second at the Honda LPGA Thailand and HSBC Women’s World Championship
- She is competing in her second HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open; she tied for seventh in 2018
- She represented Australia at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, finishing T7
Rolex Rankings No. 193 Nanna Koerstz Madsen (69-67-67—203)
- This is the first time in Koerstz Madsen’s LPGA Tour career that she will play in the final group on Sunday
- Koerstz Madsen's 203 is tied for the best 54-hole score of her career; she previously shot 203 at the 2018 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, where she ultimately finished tied for 15th
- She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, with 29 putts
- Koerstz Madsen is in her second season on the LPGA Tour; her best finish is second at the 2017 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open as a non-Member
- This is Koerstz Madsen's seventh event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is 26th at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup
- She is competing in her second HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open; she missed the cut in 2018
- Koerstz Madsen won three times as a Symetra Tour rookie in 2017 and reached the LPGA Tour via the Volvik Race for the Card
- She represented Denmark at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, finishing T13
- No player from Denmark has won on the LPGA Tour