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Lee knocks out defending champ at Girls' Junior

Daly City, CA (Sports Network) - Minjee Lee built a big lead, then held on to defeat defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn in Friday's semifinals at the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship.

The Australian Lee moved on to face California native Alison Lee in Saturday's 36-hole title match at Lake Merced Golf Club. Alison Lee knocked out Lydia Ko, the top-ranked female amateur.

Minjee Lee had taken a 4 & 2 victory in her first match Friday, a quarterfinal bout against Kelli Murphy. Jutanugarn advanced into the semis with a 3 & 1 defeat of Casie Cathrea.

In the semis, Jutanugarn double bogeyed the fourth and bogeyed the next hole to cede a 2-up lead to Lee, who extended the edge with a birdie at the par-4 seventh.

Jutanugarn's bogey at No. 12 put Lee ahead by four, though the defending champion fought back. She parred 14 and 15, holes Lee bogeyed, to trim her deficit to two.

But she didn't get any closer. The pair parred the next two holes, giving Lee a 2 & 1 victory.

Alison Lee advanced into the semis by cruising to a 5 & 4 victory against Lauren Diaz-Yi, while Ko had routed Yueer Feng by an 8 & 6 margin.

Lee and Ko swapped the lead a few times in their semifinal match, which was all-square after 14 holes. But Lee edged in front at the par-3 15th thanks to a bogey by Ko.

Lee then birdied the 16th to move 2-up, and clinched the 2 & 1 win when they halved the 17th.

Saturday's championship match is set to start at 12:15 p.m. (et).

07/20 19:23:18 ET

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