Australia's Minjee Lee caught fire during the second round of the Mizuho Americas Open, firing a bogey-free, 8-under 64 to move from T55 into a share of the lead following the Friday morning wave. She raced out of the gate, making three consecutive birdies in her first three holes and grabbing another on the par-4, 5th hole. Then, parring the next hole, Lee carded back-to-back birdies on holes 8 and 9 to turn in 30 and then made another birdie on the par-5, 10th hole, with her last birdie of the day coming on 12. Lee ultimately parred out to post 64, her lowest round since the 2022 Cognizant Founders Cup, when she shot a 9-under 63 in the second round en route to victory and credited a mindset shift as the reason for today's strong showing.
"I didn't really feel like my score reflected sort of how I played yesterday, so I just came in with a positive attitude. I knew there was probably going to be less wind this morning, so just tried to take advantage of the good conditions that were given to me," said Lee, who hit 10 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 with 24 putts on Friday. "I holed some really great putts today. A few long ones and a few mid-range. I don't think I had any tap-ins, so they were all really great putts. I (have) a lot of confidence going into tomorrow. I'm going to obviously stick to my game plan and go one shot at a time. That's always my motto.
This week at Liberty National Golf Club marks Lee's sixth start of the 2023 season. In her first four events of the year, her best finish was a T41 at The Chevron Championship, but Lee found something at the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown as she helped lead the Australia Team to a second-place showing. She finished runner-up at the Cognizant Founders Cup the following week after losing in a playoff to Jin Young Ko, and so far in Jersey City, N.J., Lee seems to have maintained that recent form and figured out how to score at Liberty National.
"I think Liberty National is a course where if you play it more, the better idea you have. So since it's the inaugural event, it's the same for everybody. I think you learn new things about the course every day. The contour of the greens, I'm getting a little bit better idea where they are and how to utilize them," Lee said. "Obviously, trying to be 100% committed in every shot that I hit and (I'm) just staying patient. I know (tomorrow is) going to get windy probably, so just assessing the shot as it comes."