Lee takes 3-stroke lead after 2 rounds at Japan Classic

Minjee Lee

Minjee Lee

Australia's superstar Minjee Lee has a strong grip on the LPGA Tour's Toto Japan Classic after a dazzling second-round 64 today.

Lee, seeking her second LPGA title this year, had eight birdies in a bogey-free round at the Seta Golf Club to improve to 13-under 131, three-strokes ahead of local favorite Sakura Koiwai, who offset a long bogey with seven birdies for a 66.

"I'm glad to win here in Japan", Hataoka said before a big crowd adding that she had faced "a challenge" after back-to-back bogeys at the 11th and 12th.

"I was able to play calmly from the 13th hole", a smiling Hataoka said as she kissed the winner's trophy.

The 20-year old Koiwai, in just her second season on the JLPGA Tour, finds herself as the leading Japanese contender and playing in Sunday's final group. She shot a 21-under 192, the lowest score in tournament history.

China's Feng Shanshan, the two-time defending champion, shot 71 to be tied 22th, and newly crowned world number one Ariya Jutanugarn was at tied 25th after also carding a 71.

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Hernandez recorded a 2-4 record with the team last season, his second with the team, and had a 2.29 ERA in 14 games. He allowed 23 runs (13 earned runs), including one home run, in 51 innings, while striking out 77 and walking 22.

The event at Otsu in central Japan's Shiga Prefecture is jointly-sponsored by the LPGAs of both Japan and the United States.

"Everyone has a chance to win because you are looking at many birdies here".

Canada's Brooke Henderson finished in a tie for 41st.

World No.5 Lee went into the day with a three-shot lead but carded two double bogeys and three bogeys in her first nine holes to tumble into a tie for 16th at the turn.

Korea's Jiyai Shin and Japan's Nasa Hataoka are a shot further back with a round to play.

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