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Lee sizzles, Dottie fizzles at LPGA Queen City

THREE consecutive birdies allow Minjee Lee to take a two-stroke cushion entering the final round. | DYLAN BUELL/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

CINCINNATI, Ohio (AFP) — Australia’s Minjee Lee opened with three consecutive birdies on her way to a seven-under-par 65 and a two-stroke lead after Saturday’s third round of the LPGA Queen City Championship.

The 27-year-old from Perth delivered a spectacular bogey-free round with seven birdies to stand on 15-under 201 after 54 holes at Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“Gave me a little bit of confidence going into the rest of the round,” Lee said of her early birdie run. “Having a hot start is always nice.”

“When you’re putting it really well it’s also helping, too.”

The Philippines’ Dottie Ardina slid to a tie for 77th after an 80, two days after turning heads with a 66 start. She is now four-over-par 220 going into Sunday’s final round.

England’s Charley Hull, a two-time major runner-up this year, and Taiwan’s Chien Peiyun, chasing her first LPGA title, shared second at 203 with Swiss Morgane Metraux on 204 and Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom and Japan’s Yuka Saso on 205.

“I’m looking forward to playing in the final pairing,” Hull said. “I like being last out on a Sunday.”

World No. 13 Lee opened with three consecutive birdies, began the back nine with two birdies and went back-to-back again at 15 and 16 then curled in a clutch 12-foot par putt at 18.

“Having that momentum really helps, especially when you can save your par putts,” Lee said. “That’s really the key for momentum out here. Making birdies is really nice but those key par putts are really important as well.”

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