Jeongeun Lee6 won the 2019 US Women’s Open
Credit: GETTY IMAGES
Perhaps Jeongeun Lee6 should rename herself “Jeongeun Lee61”, after the Korean on Friday equalled the lowest round shot in a major.
The 2019 US Women’s Open champion – who called herself Lee6 after discovering there were five other Jeongeun Lees on the Korean Tour – emulated the 61 conjured by countrywoman Kim Hyo-joo, also at the Evian Championship in 2014.
However, the 25-year-old carved herself her own outright mark in the record books, by reaching the halfway point in 127 shots – and that is the lowest 36-hole total in men’s or women’s majors, beating the 128 turned in by Brooks Koepka at the 2019 US PGA Championship.
The 10-under bogeyless magnificence took Lee6 to 15 under and handed her a three-shot advantage over the Thais Ariya Jutanugarn and Pajaree Anannarukarn. The truly scary fact for her pursuers is that Lee6 does not believe the French course overlooking Lake Geneva witnessed her finest golf.
“I didn’t feel my best,” Lee6 said. “My swing is still not perfect, but I tried to focus on one shot at a time and my backswing shape and rhythm. I focus on just the process. I didn’t dwell on the results. My putting was really good. So, yeah, that’s it.”
David Buhai, her caddie, felt privileged to be a part of it. “This was the best round by far I’ve ever seen,” the experienced South African said.
“I caddied in a nine under, but that was just in a small tournament. To do it under this pressure was remarkable. Every putt looked like it was going to go in. Not one nerve. Speed was just perfect. I had the best seat in the house and I just kept my mouth shut. ‘6’ was that focused. She was just incredible.”
Can anyone stop her from collecting the £475,000 winning cheque?
Jutanugarn is a former world No 1 who is on her way back after considering quitting the game following barren 2019 and 2020 seasons, while Anannarukarn is 113th in the rankings but regarded highly. In a tie for fourth on nine under are New Zealand’s Lydia Ko and American Yealimi Noh.
Charley Hull is the leading Briton on four under after a 68. Nelly Korda, the world No 1, battled back after an opening 74 to post a 67 to make the cut on one under. However, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, who flies to Tokyo next week to represent Team GB at the Olympics, did not qualify for the weekend after a 73 left her stranded on three over.