2022 – Minji Lee in pursuit of the Women’s Open doubles a Scottish family | open women

A corner of East Lothian can belong to a family from Western Australia forever. If Minjee Lee wins the Women’s Open – and the second round of 70 puts her in a good position to do so – she will have demonstrated the domestic specialty that her brother has already demonstrated.

Min Woo Lee’s win at the Scottish Open last July was the biggest of his career. It’s not fair to suggest that the 24-year-old was heavily exposed by his older sister in an athletic context. The oddity of this is that Minji Lee is chasing a third major – and the second of 2022 – at Muirfield, literally over the wall of the Renaissance Club, where Min Woo Lee knocked out a playoff.

Minjee Lee only showed that a family double-double in the same zip code and more than 9,000 miles from home would be “pretty cool” before hitting the ball at the Women’s Open. A total of four sub-par people in half the time increased the interest around them, including in their home country.

Lee won the US Open with ease in June and is sure to become the world’s first ranked No. 1 Australia with a victory over Muirfield. Halfway through, she was standing behind South Korean leader Chun In-ji with four strokes, to protect herself from the noise.

“I try not to think too much about those other things,” he told me. “I’m still the same person. I hit a little white golf ball around a square. This has always been my mind and everything that comes with that, I will embrace it and be the best person I can be.” Obviously the best golfer. Lee’s second round included two planes and a ghost. Regretted the missed opportunities on the Greens. “I was playing really smart there,” she added. “I couldn’t fully take advantage of my plane’s chances, so hopefully they’ll all go down tomorrow.

“The course is designed quite fair and the course design is really helpful if you play it safe. I definitely think it’s a fair and challenging course but fun.” In fact, Muirfield was widely considered by competitors to be a huge success.

Martin Slumbers, general manager of R&A, has focused on the big sport, which demands large audiences and venues. It also needs big leaderboards. Work done on that front: Chun, this year’s PGA Women’s Champion, is two-times ahead with seven-time winner Inbee Park. Madeleine Sagstrom, last year’s runner-up, and South African Ashley Buhai seconds apart in a tie.

New Zealand’s Lydia Koo is also present with an understated minus. Koe added 70 to the first day 71 despite a chaotic double bogey on day 18. Charlie Hall, a known pessimist when it comes to golf ties, hit Koe’s total. Ireland’s Leona Maguire, chasing the first of what many believe will be several big wins, is two points behind 69. She was hoping for a better Friday after the Eagle finished fifth in the lead.

“I screwed up 14 and 15, which are probably two of the toughest holes out there, so that’s been a good boost for the last few holes,” Maguire said. “I’ve been three for the last five years, and that’s really good momentum for the weekend.

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“I wish they were down to four or five, but you have to take your chances wherever they come. I missed a few holes and then threw two of the toughest holes. These are golf ties and you have to be patient. I feel like I did that today. It was easy to get frustrated and finished. Several times. I’ve dug in the last few years which has been nice. I bumped into him in two of these bunkers which are really punishable. Louise Duncan, a young Scotsman who only made her second professional start, slipped to minus two and to Maguire’s side after 73.

Among the losers are Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist, who won the major in dramatic fashion at Carnoustie 12 months ago, and Catriona Matthew and Lexi Thompson. World number one, Koo Jin Young also smashed five notches above par. A disastrous second round of 81 for Laura Davies comprehensively ended her chances of going over 36 holes. Nelly Korda entered the weekend with a two-plus after a disappointing 74.

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