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Golf: Lee6 ties golf majors record for lowest round of 61
Golf

Golf: Lee6 ties golf majors record for lowest round of 61

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LPGA Tour Golf

Jeongeun Lee6, shown at the LPGA Volunteers of America Classic in Texas on July 2, leads the Evian Championship by five strokes going into Sunday's final round of the major tournament.

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France — Jeongeun Lee6 tied the golf majors record for the lowest round ever when she carded a 10-under-par 61 at the Evian Championship on Friday.

Her bogey-free second round equaled countrywoman Hyo Joo Kim, who shot the lowest score by a female or male in a major in the first round in 2014 also at the picturesque Evian Resort on the shore of Lake Geneva.

Lee6's 36-hole score of 127 was also the lowest total in a women’s or men’s major, beating the 128 by Brooks Koepka at the 2019 U.S. PGA Championship.

After her 10 birdies in the second round, Lee6 led at 15 under, three shots clear of Thai players Pajaree Anannarukarn — the co-overnight leader — and Ariya Jutanugarn, who carded an 8-under 63.

“I had a lot of birdie chances,” Lee6 said. “I could play easily. My putting was really, really good.”

She made four straight birdies on holes 6-9, including a chip from the greenside rough on No. 8.

“I try to keep it on the fairway and keep it on the green,” was her modest self-appraisal. "I focused on putting speed, that’s it.”

Caddie David Buhai had an easy day, because he just left her to it.

"Every putt looked like it was going to go in. It was incredible. Not one nerve, Speed was just perfect,” he said. “I had the best seat in the house, and I just kept my mouth shut. I wasn’t getting involved because she was that focused.”

Pajaree shared the overnight lead with teenage American Yealimi Noh, who posted a 3-under 68 and was tied with Lydia Ko of New Zealand in fourth at 9 under.

Ko is a 16-time LPGA Tour winner and won the tournament in 2015 for the first of her two majors. She opened with a bogey but made seven birdies in her 6-under 65.

Ayaka Furue of Japan sat one shot behind them at 8 under, while Inbee Park — a seven-time major winner who won Evian in 2012 before it became a major — and Kim were two shots back at 7 under.

New world No. 1 Nelly Korda recovered from her 3-over 74 on Thursday to post a 4-under 67 and join defending champion Jin Young Ko at 1 under.

She won at Evian in 2019 but the event was canceled last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Clarke leads by stroke at Senior British Open

BERKSHIRE, England — Darren Clarke isn't getting ahead of himself after two good rounds at the Senior British Open.

The Northern Irishman shot a 3-under 67 on Friday after posting an opening 65 at Sunningdale and holds a one-shot lead after 36 holes.

Clarke won the British Open in 2011 at Royal St. George’s and could become just the fourth player to win both tournaments.

“Certainly, I would love to have this trophy sitting behind the claret jug,” said Clarke, who is at 8-under 132 in the final senior major championship of the year.

Of course, he's only halfway there.

“We’re all long enough in the tooth to know that this is only two rounds," Clarke said.

Jerry Kelly (66) was a stroke back with defending champion Bernhard Langer (67). The 63-year-old Langer, who eagled the first hole, won in 2019 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes for his fourth victory in the event. The 2020 tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kelly, who leads the Schwab Cup, has yet to post a top 10 in this three Senior British Open appearances.

Paul Broadhurst eagled the first and was 5 under on the day, two shots back overall with Ernie Els, a two-time British Open champion who carded his second 67. Broadhurst won in 2016 and was runner-up in 2019.

Like Clarke, Els also has a chance to become the fourth player to win both events. The 51-year-old South African said he's “fighting hard” to stay close to Clarke, his playing partner.

“Darren is a great frontrunner, played really well today, so got a lot of work to do," Els said.

The 52-year-old Clarke birdied the first and third but three consecutive bogeys left him 4 under before a birdie on the 9th. He only dropped one more shot and added four more birdies, including the 18th.

“If I want to get really in the mix come Sunday afternoon I think my iron play is going to have to improve a little bit,” he said.

First-round co-leader James Kingston was 4 over and seven strokes back.

Elvira leads Wales Open by 2 shots

NEWPORT, Wales — Nacho Elvira started the day sharing the lead of the Wales Open and finished with it all to himself after shooting a 4-under 67 in the second round on Friday.

Elvira bogeyed the first hole but recovered with six birdies, dropping just one further shot on the 17th and moving to 11 under overall at Celtic Manor.

Remarkably, younger brother Manuel was also at 11 under playing at the Italian Challenge on the Challenge Tour, and at one point the siblings were leading their respective events on the same score.

“It’s unbelievable,” said the older brother, who has made just two of his last 11 cuts. ”He's been playing great. It's awesome that we are both 11 under and leading, it's interesting - that must have never happened before.”

He added: “To be 100% honest, I don't really care where I end up. I'm happy with how I'm trying to turn my game around, especially my mind around. So we'll see what that brings.”

Swedish golfer Vincent Norrman was playing just his third event as a professional but he carded a 69 to sit second two shots behind at 9 under, a shot clear of Japan's Masahiro Kawamura, whose 63 was the lowest round of the day by four shots.

Scots David Drysdale and Calum Hill were at 3 under alongside England's Sam Horsfield.

Oliver Farr led the home challenge in Wales at level par.

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