CINCINNATI – Having not finished in the top 10 since the Asian swing in early March, Jeonin Li6 posted her best score in nearly a year on Friday with a 9-under 63 to give her the sole lead at the Kroger Queen City Championship.

It has been three years since her only LPGA Tour win at the 2019 US Women’s Open, and the 26-year-old South Korean has not played since Singapore at the HSBC Women’s World Championship.

She had a 13-under 131, one ahead of China’s Janet Lin, who had a 68. Ellie Ewing had six consecutive birdies on the front nine, shooting a 64 to leave her two behind.

Lee6 never felt much stress and was at her best at the turn at Kenwood Country Club, making seven birdies over the 10-hole stretch.

“It was a good round without a bogey, and it’s been a while since I’ve played without a bogey, so I’m really happy with my game today,” said Lee6. “Two more rounds, so I’m just going to focus on my swing. I just focus on the downswing, so I did really well today.”


The teenager, still in high school, will be in her first LPGA Tour event in Cincinnati since 1989 over the weekend. Anna Davis, the 16-year-old from the San Diego area who won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship, had a 66 and was 4-under 140.

Davis has made the cut in three of her five LPGA starts this year, one of which was a major at the Evian Championship. She also had the incision two weeks ago in Canada. She finished 26th over the weekend in Cincinnati.

“I’m really excited,” Davis said. “I’m not really fighting, but I’m finally moving up the leaderboard a little bit, so it’ll be nice to see if I can keep moving up the leaderboard over the weekend.”

Gianna Clemente, a 14-year-old girl who lives between Ohio and Florida, was not so lucky. It’s her third consecutive start on the LPGA — she’s qualified on Monday each time — and she opened the event with a 70 to have a good chance heading into the weekend.


But she made just one birdie, bogeyed twice on the par 5s and finished with a 77, missing by four shots.

The cut was 1-under 143 on a course that hasn’t hosted an LPGA-sanctioned tournament since the 1963 US Women’s Open. Another major championship, the LPGA Championship, was in the area for 10 years until 1989.

The weekend will not feature US Women’s Open champion Minji Lee, who leads the race to the CME Globe, or American star Lexi Thompson. Lee never recovered from his first-round 76. She was 69 on Friday.

Thompson, who played in the final group a week ago at the Dana Open, went 36 holes without a birdie. She made a wedge for eagle on the seventh hole, though that was her only score under par. Thompson had 16 pars and a bogey for 71.

Paula Creamer went to her second event after giving birth to her first child. She had a 70 and was 2-under 142.

Ten players were within five shots of Lee6.


Maria Fassi, the big-hitting Mexican who struggled in the low grass, followed with a 68-over 66 and was three behind Australia’s Sara Kemp (68).

Last week’s runner-up Megan Khang had a 66 and was four behind.

Fassi, Kemp and Khang have yet to win on the LPGA Tour, although there have already been eight first-time winners this year.

Fassi finished with five birdies over the final six holes.

“Last week was the opposite for me. I didn’t quite finish the way I wanted to on Friday and I think that carried over into the weekend,” Fassi said. “So I’m just hoping that I flip the script this week and continue to build on how well I played those first 36 holes. I’m really excited to see what we can do in the next couple of days.”


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