Lee so-mi surges to lead at LPGA mizuho americas open.

In a remarkable turn of events, South Korean newcomer Lee So-mi seized the spotlight on Thursday with a stellar six-under-par 66 to claim a two-shot lead at the LPGA Mizuho Americas Open, despite starting as the second alternate.

Ranked 73rd in the world, Lee initially didn’t have a tee time on Thursday morning. However, fortune smiled upon the 25-year-old when Caroline Masson and Maja Stark withdrew due to illness, providing Lee with the unexpected opportunity to showcase her talent. Notably, defending champion Rose Zhang also withdrew after three holes, adding to the unpredictability of the day.

Lee capitalized on her chance, opening with a birdie at the 10th hole and following it up with three consecutive birdies at 13, 14, and 15, before a minor setback with a bogey at 16. Undeterred, she rebounded with another birdie at 17 and continued her momentum with birdies at four, five, and eight, ultimately securing the lead. Despite the challenging conditions, including rain and wind, Lee remained composed and grateful for the opportunity to compete.

Her impressive performance placed her two strokes ahead of a talented group, including first alternate Mao Saigo of Japan, Bianca Pagdanganan of the Philippines, Australian Gabriela Ruffels, and American Andrea Lee.

While world number three Celine Boutier of France led a pack of 11 players with a score of 69, Zhang’s hopes of defending her title were dashed due to health issues. Despite her recent victory at the Founders Cup, Zhang was forced to withdraw after battling intestinal pain.

Meanwhile, American Lindsey Weaver-Wright also withdrew due to injury after commencing her round.

Among the contenders, world number one Nelly Korda navigated the challenging conditions to finish at two-under par 70, expressing satisfaction with her performance despite the tough start.

As Lee So-mi leads the charge at the LPGA Mizuho Americas Open, her remarkable journey from alternate to frontrunner serves as a testament to her talent and resilience in the face of adversity.