South Korea’s Lee6 Jeongeun rated the lowest points in a major golf tournament in the 61st second round, but he still had a few Thai golfers to shoot on his heels in the middle of the Evian Championship on Friday.
Lee6 sent his flawless birdie round by 15 under par a total of 127 before another field even started their second rounds.
“I knew I needed to make a birdie to finally tie the record,” he said. “It’s really amazing.”
The combined all-night leader, Pajaree Anannarukarn, took part in the lead and doubled her 65th opening while Ariya Jutanugarn strengthened the strong Thai threat by 63.
They shared second place, three behind 12 under par.
One fine weather day, New Zealand champion Lydia Ko, the 2015 champion, continued her return season with 65 and was in fourth place with American Yealimi Noh (68) the youngest of nine under par.
Lee6, the US Open Open Champion, matched 10 under 61 placed by fellow countryman Kim Hyo Joo in the same spot in 2014.
He started after nine and reached the 32nd curve with birdies on the 11th, 12th, 17th and 18th.
The second 25-year-old was the best. The first and fourth birds were followed by four in a row from the sixth of 29 unforgettable inner ones.
He came in eighth to set the final drama of the pit – and the 15-foot birdie putt 15-foot closed the deal.
– ‘I did not feel the best I could’ –
“Actually I didn’t feel my best. My swing wasn’t perfect. But I had a lot of birdie chances and my placement was really good,” he added.
“I felt happy after the first nine and I didn’t know I could do any more birdie chances in the back. In the short eight I missed the green with my six bells, but then the chip in was amazing.
“After No. 6 I knew I needed three birdies to record and two holes for 5. But the chip in was really lucky.”
Surprisingly, 61 were not the lowest points in Lee6’s career. He shot 60 dead in Korea – another record.
Kim set her score in the first round seven years ago and won the title. He also has a chance to win the second Evan title after the second round 68 out of seven under par.
Lee6 added this number to his surname because Lee Jeongeuns was already on the LPGA Tour when he joined in 2017.
Pajaree highlighted his second round with the eagle in the ninth and also had six birdies to raise hopes that the first LPA title could come with a big threat.
“I’m very happy to get the points,” he said.
“The Jors are special and I just hope I can continue this weekend.”
Ariya Jutanugarn, who became the first Thai golfer to win a major in the 2016 Women’s British Open and also won the 2018 US Women’s Open, entered the 9th long hole – her last hole – with a 20 foot putt.
“I was watching Jeongeun on TV before I came out and she was amazing,” said the world’s first.
“I just went out and shot as much as I could and I was lucky enough to finish with an eagle.”
Nelly Korda who is the world’s number one has had a difficult day struggling to cut.
But he did it with a few shots to save by adding 67 to his 74 opening.
Defending champion Ko Jin-young, from South Korea, also finished in one under 69.