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Aussie Minjee Lee in hunt for LPGA honours

AAP logoAAP 2/11/2016 Scott Bailey

Australian golfer Minjee Lee will aim to launch an assault for her biggest payday when the Japan Classic begins on Friday.

The 20-year-old sits sixth in the race to the CME Globe with two events remaining in Japan and Mexico before the season-ending championship in Florida on November 17-20.

Lee could realistically climb to fourth behind Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, New Zealander Lydia Ko and Canada's Brooke Henderson before points are reset for the Florida tournament.

Anyone ranked in the top five heading into the tournament is a realistic shot at the season's title and the $US1 million ($A1.3 million) prize that goes with it if they win the event and results go their way.

Each position between third and 10th carries an extra 400 points on the one below it heading into Florida.

"She's just gone from strength to strength this year," Australian Ladies Professional Golf chief executive Karen Lunn told AAP.

"She's one of the best players in the world."

And the statistics are there to back it up.

Lee claimed the last qualifying spot for last year's championship, but has improved dramatically in 2016 to claim seven top-10 tour finishes and she is among the leading players for eagles and birdies on the tour.

"She's obviously making the putts this year," Lunn said.

"Perhaps last year her putting was a little bit in and out.

"She's done a bit of work on her swing too so I think her ball striking is a little bit more consistent and perhaps her driving is a little bit more consistent than what it was last year."

Lee's overall earnings stand at just under $US2 million ($A2.6 million), while she claimed $US315,000 ($A413,217) when she won last month's Blue Bay LPGA in China.

However Lunn believes she is every chance of claiming the $US1 million prize.

"Everyone knows that she's a force to be reckoned with - she's one of the top five players in the world at the moment," Lunn said.

Karrie Webb has Australia's best end-of-year tour result with fourth in 2012, a year after the format began.

Lee, Su Oh (50th), Webb (54th) and Sarah Jane Smith (60th) are also in line to make for Australia's best representation in Florida if they finish the season strongly.


Money list: 11th - $US1,164,514 ($A1.5 million). (Leader: Lydia Ko - $US2,451,642 ($A3.2 million))

Avg Drive length: 34th - 260.30m (Leader: Joanna Klatten - 281.37m)

Driving Accuracy: 71st - 70.19 per cent (Leader: Mo Martin - 85.7 per cent)

Greens in regulation: 28th - 70.68 per cent (Leader: Anna Nordqvist - 78.4 per cent)

Avg Putts per GIR: 6th - 1.76 (Leader: Lydia Ko - 1.719)

Birdies: 4th - 370 (Leader: Ariya Jutanugarn - 435)

Eagles: 3rd - 11 (Leader: Mi Hyang Lee -12)

Sub-par holes: 4th - 382 (Leader: Ariya Jutanugarn - 441)

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