Las Vegas resident Alison Lee ground out her second tie of the week on Thursday at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards, battling until the last hole with sponsor invite Muni He. He took the early lead in a hurry, winning holes 2, 3 and 4 with three consecutive birdies to go 3 up, but Lee went par-birdie on Nos. 6 and 7, quieting He's run and cutting her deficit to one hole. He moved back to 2 up with a birdie on the par-5 ninth hole, and Lee again won two holes back-to-back, grabbing birdies on 11 and 12 to tie the match with six holes to play.
A one-two punch from He on 13 and 14 once again put her 2 up, but Lee just wouldn't quit. She got back within one with a win on the par-4 15th, and Lee won again on the par-5 18th to tie the match and earn another half point toward a berth in the round of 16.
"It was playing tough out there. I felt like my game was in a good place. Muni was making quite a few birdies here and there and there is nothing you could do," said Lee, who plays Shadow Creek frequently as an MGM Ambassador. "I felt like I was playing great. Definitely was a challenge coming down the stretch. Got it back to even and then I was down two, so definitely was a little nervous coming down the stretch. But I felt confident that I was playing well. I made some really, really good, important putts on the last few holes that really, really helped me out. Thankful for the putter and thankful I get to still be in the mix."
This is Lee's ninth year on the LPGA Tour and she's so far enjoyed a solid season. The UCLA alum has only missed one cut at The Chevron Championship and has recorded one top-10 finish, a tie for ninth at the JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro. Lee also has a top 20 on her resume this year, a T20 at the Honda LPGA Thailand, her first event of the season. With one more day of round-robin pool play on deck, Lee will need to grind out a victory tomorrow to advance to the weekend for the first time in this event. But Friday's match is sure to be a tough test as Lee is set to duke it out with fellow Las Vegas resident Danielle Kang, another MGM Ambassador who also plays out of Shadow Creek.
"Danielle is obviously a great player. She knows this course well. I know this course fairly well, too. I live up here in Vegas so I have played this course quite a few times," Lee said. "That doesn't make the course any easier than it is, no matter how many times we've played it. Should be good fun. Honestly, I just feel like if I played like I did today I should be good, I should be solid. You just never know what the next day holds."