Masson breaks LPGA duck, Minjee Lee 2nd
Germany’s Caroline Masson achieved a dream with a maiden LPGA victory in a helter skelter final round at the Manulife Championship in Canada on Sunday.
The 27-year old began the final round trailing leader Lee Mi-hyang of South Korea by three shots but promptly opened her account in the final round with a first hole double bogey.
Minjee Lee (Credit: LPGA Tour)
However, the world No. 87 turned in a stunning performance thereafter, shooting nine birdies for a final round 67 and a 16-under par total to hold off a gaggle of star players that included world number one Lydia Ko, number 2 Ariya Jutanugarn, Karine Icher, Suzann Pettersen and Australia’s Minjee Lee.
In the end, Masson won out by a solitary shot from Minjee Lee, Icher and Mi-hyang Lee, with Pettersen, Jutanugarn and Ko tied for fifth a stroke further back.
It was Masson’s first victory in 107 starts in four years on the LPGA Tour and the emotions ran as freely as the beer she was doused in by her colleagues on the final green.
“I got off to a really bad start. I doubled the first hole and from then on just kind of, well, there’s no pressure.” she said “You don’t have to feel any pressure to win or do anything. Just keep making birdies, and that’s what I did all day. I tried to stay relaxed out there, enjoy it.”
“I just really tried to have a good time with my caddy, Danny. And yeah, it’s unbelievable that it really worked out in the end.”
It was a timely win for Masson who will have the opportunity to soak up even more well wishes when she returns home to Germany next week to contest the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters in Dusseldorf.
“It’s going to be huge going back to play next week; it’s probably the promoter’s biggest dream for me to win this week and go home to play next,” Masson said. “I wish a lot more Germans will have a chance to watch the LPGA, a lot more girls to watch the LPGA. Maybe this is a little start to change this in the future.”
Minjee Lee’s finish lifts her into the top-10 in the season-long Race to CME Globe points race while the only other Australian to make the cut, Victorian Sarah Jane Smith, finished the Canadian leg in a tie for 26th place at 9-under.
The year’s final major begins in a fortnight’s time at the Evian Championship in France, where Ko will be defending first major title won in commanding style last year.