Minjee Lee hangs on, wins LPGA Founders Cup over Thompson

Sarah Stier / Getty Images Sport / Getty

CLIFTON, N.J. (AP) — LPGA scoring leader Minjee Lee made her only three birdies on the back nine and captured the Cognizant Founders Cup by two shots over Lexi Thompson on Sunday for her first win of the year.

The 25-year-old Australian took the lead for good with a birdie on the par-5 14th hole at Upper Montclair Country Club. She closed with a 2-under 70, her only round not in the 60s, for a 72-hole total of 19-under 269 in the event that honors the 13 founding members of the LPGA Tour.

Lee won her seventh career title and first since taking her first major at last year's Evian Championship. She steadied herself after what she called a “good” bogey on the par-3 eighth.

Looking for her first LPGA Tour win since 2019, Thompson rallied from three down and grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie at No. 10. Thompson and Lee traded birdies on the par-5 12th, but Thompson closed with six straight pars for a 69. Thompson had birdie opportunities on the final two holes that she failed to convert before Lee closed it in style with a short birdie of her own.

Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden and hard-charging Angel Yin tied for third, three shots off the pace at 16 under. Sagstrom, who was a shot behind Lee at the start, closed with a 72 despite a quadruple bogey at No. 3 when she needed three shots to get out of a bunker.

Yin, who thought about leaving the tour earlier this year, shot 67. She grabbed a piece of the lead with her seventh birdie at No. 14, but bogeyed the 16th.

Carolota Ciganda shot 64 on Sunday and finished fifth. Nasa Hataoka of Japan and Megan Khang were tied for sixth at 14 under.

Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand made the biggest move, matching the tournament low with a 63 to finish tied for eighth at 13 under with Hye-Jin Choi of South Korea.

Two-time defending champion and top-ranked Jin Young Ko finished at 8 under.

Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion Anna Davis finished at 3 under while playing her second straight tour event on a sponsor exemption.

This marked the third straight time the Founders Cup was played at a different course. It was held at Wildfire Golf Club in Arizona in 2019, at Mountain Ridge in West Caldwell, New Jersey, last year and now Upper Montclair, which will be the site for the next two years. The event was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.

The start of the final round was delayed by an hour because of fog.

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Minjee Lee hangs on, wins LPGA Founders Cup over Thompson
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