Minjee Lee wins second major at US Women’s Open
Perth’s Minjee Lee has stamped her mark in the history books becoming Australia’s third multiple women’s major champion following her runaway success at the US Women’s Open at Pine Needles this morning.
Lee, who secured her first major at the 2021 Evian Championship, broke Juli Inkster’s 23—year-old record to set a new 54-hole scoring high (13-under 200) on her way to claiming victory at the same course where Karrie Webb won her second consecutive US Women’s Open title in 2001.
Lee takes home US$1.8 million (AUD$2.5 million) for her win from the $10 million purse, which almost doubles the previous high of $5.5 million first on offer at the 2019, 2020 and 2021 US Women’s Opens.
“I’m speechless. I can’t believe it right now. It’s super special and such a great honour. It’s been my dream since I was a little girl, this is the one I always wanted to win,” said an emotional Lee.
The 26-year-old Lee took a three-shot lead into Sunday’s final round and extended that margin to five with two opening birdies before quickly handing the advantage back at the 5th and 7th holes.Minjee Lee celebrates her second major victory at the 2022 US Women’s Open (Credit: USGA/Darren Carroll)
Further birdies came at the 12th and 15th holes to move Lee to within one shot of the 16-under record tournament total set by Juli Inkster in 1999.
However, a nervous bogey at the par 3, 16th saw her drop back to 14-under to head to the 18th tee five shots in front of the unheralded American Mina Harigae.
Lee split the fairway with her final drive of the week before pulling up well short of the hole with a wisely conservative approach shot into the green.
While she missed her simple par putt to record a final hole bogey to drop back to 13-under and a four-shot victory, it didn’t matter as the engraver was well and truly busy by that stage.
“I was pretty nervous all day…I started good; I had two birdies off the bat. It was nice just to have that little buffer. I made two bogeys on the front nine, as well,” added Lee.
“I didn’t hit it that well. I had really good saves, up-and-downs from a lot of the places, and then finishing I had a couple birdies and a couple bogeys. I think that was enough to get it done today.”
Harigae parred the 18th to take outright second place on 9-under with South Korea’s Hyejin Choi in outright third.
World No.1 Jin Young Ko was alone in 4th place while New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, herself a two-time major champ, was 5th.
Following a final round 5-over 76, Hannah Green was the next best of the Australians in a share of 28th and eight shots ahead of major debutant Grace Kim in 63rd place.
Sarah Kemp (+4) and Gabi Ruffels (+7) missed the 3-over cut.
At just 26-years-old, Lee is now just one major short of Jan Stephenson’s three titles, which she first won at the age of 29 at the du Maurier Classic in 1981.
The way the Western Australian is playing right now, it would be hard to bet against her not winning another major…and keeping that family rivalry with her DP World/PGA Tour-playing brother well and truly alive.
Over to you, Min Woo.