CLIFTON, N.J. — Minjee Lee had an eagle-birdie run on the back nine and took a one-shot lead over Madelene Sagstrom on Saturday, heading into the final round of the Cognizant Founders Cup.
Lee, the LPGA Tour’s leading scoring this year, shot a 3-under 69 on a day Upper Montclair Country Club showed some teeth with the wind picking up early and rain falling on the leaders for the final 11 holes.
The 25-year-old Australian who had a three-shot lead at the halfway point, was at 17-under 199 after 54 holes. She’s looking for her first win of the year and seventh on tour.
Sagstrom, the Swede who had the first-round lead after a 63, had the best third-round with a 67. The 29-year-old is seeking her second win.
Lexi Thompson started the round tied with Sagstrom at 11 under, and was alone in third, three shots back after a 69. She might have been closer to her first win since 2019 but she just missed at least five or six putts.
Well, it was probably more of an issue just trying to get my putts to the hole. I left a few short just dead center. It was hard because the greens have been so fast. They still are and they’re rolling so pure.
But just with the a little bit of moisture on them they’re definitely a little slower, but into the greens they actually skid out a little bit more, so it’s finding that balance.
“The weather was a big factor, it got quite wet on the greens,” said Sagstrom, who briefly moved into a tie for the lead with a birdie at the par-5 12th as Lee bogeyed No. 11 after an errant tee shot.
Lee followed with the eagle and birdie on putts ranging from 15-to-18 feet and never lost the lead.
Angel Yin shot a 68 and moved into fourth place at 11 under.
Ally Ewing, who was tied for second after two rounds, never got anything going in posting a 74. She was tied for fifth at 9 under with Paula Reto of South Africa and Megan Khang.
Nasa Hataoka of Japan, who won in Los Angeles last month, was in a group nine shots off the lead. Jennifer Kupcho, the winner at Mission Hills in the first major of the season, also was 8 under.
Two-time defending champion and No. 1 ranked Jin Young Ko of South Korea was far back at 5 under.
Anna Davis, the 16-year-old lefty who won the recent Augusta National Women’s Amateur, remained at 4 under after shooting par.