U.S. Women’s Open: Competitive battle looming with Minjee Lee, leaders

A three-way tie is heading into the final day of the U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania.

Minjee Lee, Andrea Lee and Wichanee Meechai sit at 5-under through 54 holes.

Minjee Lee tied for the lowest round of the day as she shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday and was one of 13 players to shoot under par on Day 3.

The 2022 U.S. Women’s Open winner leads the field in strokes gained approach, picking up 3.8 shots.

After six straight pars, Minjee Lee made an incredible eagle on the par-5 7th to boost her momentum. She added two more birdies at 11 and 12 before she made a bogey at 14. Lee made her final birdie on the par-4 16th to give her a 66.

“I just tried to stick to my game plan, tried to make birdies,” Minjee Lee said. “I wanted a good score on round 3, moving day. I knew there were going to be some opportunities with some of the tees up for birdies, so yeah, pretty much I just tried to take it step by step as you do as a U.S. Open and just stayed in the moment.”

Among the three leaders, Lee is the only former U.S. Women’s Open winner. She knows what kind of pressure awaits her on Sunday. Lancaster Country Club has given the women a proper challenge this week, which raises the question of how tough the final round will be.

“Maybe a shootout, depending on how the course is set up tomorrow,” she said. “I’m sure they’re going to make it a little bit harder than today. But looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to tomorrow.”

Lee explained that her prep for tomorrow would be minimal, and she would opt for a laid-back evening.

“I don’t really overthink too much, and I’ve done it for quite a while now,” Lee said. “I have one U.S. Open under my belt. I’ll maybe watch some TV, maybe read a little.”

Andrea Lee carded a 3-under 67 on Saturday, while Meechai settled for a 1-under 69.

Both ladies are eying their first major championship. Andrea’s best finish at the U.S. Women’s Open came in 2022 when she was T15; for Meechai, she finished T30 in 2021.

“It’s an incredible feeling. It’s something that I’ve always dreamed of, vying for major championship wins,” Andrea Lee said.

She also received a special message from Michelle Wie West, who gave her some advice.

“She told me just whatever the outcome is, just put your 100 percent effort into it,” Andrea Lee said. “No matter what happens it’s a privilege to be in this moment, to have this opportunity. I really took that to heart. I tried to have fun out there and just play the golf course and not try to play against the field — just me and the golf course.”

Andrea Lee and Minjee Lee will play in the final group at 2:15 p.m. ET. Meechai is paired with Hinako Shibuno. They will play in the second to last group at 2:04 p.m. ET.

Will Minjee win her third major, or will Andrea or Meechai earn her first major?

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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