Aussies Abroad: Lee ready for her major moment

Australia’s top-ranked female golfer Minjee Lee is remaining patient in her quest to win a maiden major title but knows her time is coming.

Fresh from posting her best finish in a major championship at the AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon three weeks ago, Lee enters the second major of the year ranked No.5 in the world and with three top-four finishes in five starts since the post-COVID resumption.

Prior to her third-place finish at Troon Lee’s best result in a major was a tie for third at the ANA Inspiration three years ago, her final round pairing with Open champion Sophia Popov again raising questions about when her breakthrough major championship would eventuate.

Unphased by any outside expectations, the 24-year-old knows that until she can add to her five career LPGA Tour titles with one that cements your legacy in golf history, the questions will remain.

“To be honest, it wasn’t even in the back of my mind that people were looking at me,” Lee told the Inside The Ropes podcast of her flirtation with the Women’s Open crown.

“I only saw it as support on social media and stuff.

“It will be my time soon.

“The majors are always a big focus for me and they have been for a couple of years now.

“I definitely want to have good results in the majors and hopefully I can be in contention in a couple more of them finishing the year.”

Lee has been paired with last-start winner for the opening two rounds with Australia’s most recent major winner, Hannah Green, to play with 2019 Women’s Open champion Hinako Shibuno in the scorching heat expected at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.

Veteran Katherine Kirk and exciting young talents Su Oh and amateur Gabi Ruffels round out the Australian contingent with Kiwi Lydia Ko looking to add to her two major wins.

Elsewhere this week there are five Aussies hoping to start the 50-event 2020/2021 PGA TOUR season on a positive note at the Safeway Open, five more teeing it up at the European Tour’s Portugal Masters, recent winners Brett Drewitt and Curtis Luck headlining a group of six Aussies and two Kiwis at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Evans Scholars Invitational and three Aussie girls playing the Swiss Ladies Open.

Round 1 tee times (AEST)

ANA Inspiration
Rancho Mirage, California
1.18am*              Lydia Ko, Lizette Salas
1.36am*              Hannah Green, Hinako Shibuno
6.09am Minjee Lee, Austin Ernst
6.36am*              Katherine Kirk, Elizabeth Szokol
6.45am*              Su Oh, Chella Choi
6.54am Gabi Ruffels (a), Yealimi Noh

Defending champion: Jin Young Ko
Past Aussie champions: Karrie Webb (2000, 2006)
Top Aussie prediction: Minjee Lee
TV schedule: Live 2am-6am, 9am-11am Friday, Saturday; Live 4am-8am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503

European Tour
Portugal Masters
Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura, Portugal
8.45pm Jake McLeod, Wilco Nienaber, Alvaro Quiros
9.25pm Ryan Fox, Thomas Bjorn, Stephen Gallacher
9.55pm Maverick Antcliff, Richard Bland, Toby Tree
10.25pm              Zach Murray, Jamie Donaldson, Marcel Schneider
11pm     Wade Ormsby, Matthew Baldwin, Joakim Lagergren
11.50pm              Jason Scrivener, Raphaël Jacquelin, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet

Defending champion: Steven Brown
Past Aussie champions: Richard Green (2010)
Top Aussie prediction: Jake McLeod
TV schedule: Live 8pm-10pm, 11pm-2am Thursday, Friday; 10.30pm-3am Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 503

Safeway Open
Silverado Resort and Spa (North Cse), Napa, California
12am*   Cameron Davis, Bill Haas, Rafa Cabrera Bello
12.10am*            Aaron Baddeley, Josh Teater, Maverick McNealy
1.10am*              Tim Wilkinson, Jhonattan Vegas, Sam Ryder
1.40am*              Rhein Gibson, Dominic Bozzelli, Akshay Bhatia
5am*     Cameron Percy, Johnson Wagner, Kelly Kraft
6am*     John Senden, Alex Cejka, Jonathan Byrd

Defending champion: Cameron Champ
Past Aussie champions: Nil
Top Aussie prediction: Cameron Davis
TV schedule: Live 6am-9am Friday, Saturday; Live 8am-11am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503

Korn Ferry Tour
Evans Scholars Invitational
Chicago Highlands Club, Westchester, Illinois
9.40pm*              Steven Alker, David Kocher, Andres Gonzales
10.10pm*            Brett Coletta, David Lingmerth, Alex Prugh
10.30pm              Brett Drewitt, John Chin, Austin Smotherman
11.30pm*            Nick Voke, Zach Wright, Eric Cole
2.50am*              Jamie Arnold, Kevin Dougherty, Nicolas Echavarria
3.20am Curtis Luck, Zecheng Dou, Roberto Díaz
4am       Ryan Ruffels, Brad Hopfinger, Sebastián Vázquez
4.30am*              Harrison Endycott, Conrad Shindler, Rico Hoey

Defending champion: Scottie Scheffler
Past Aussie champions: Nil
Top Aussie prediction: Harrison Endycott

Champions Tour
Sanford International
Minnehaha Country Club, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Aussies in the field: Stephen Leaney, David McKenzie, Rod Pampling

Defending champion: Rocco Mediate
Past Aussie champions: Nil
Top Aussie prediction: Rod Pampling
TV schedule: 11am-12.30pm Saturday, Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503

Ladies European Tour
VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open
Golfpark Holzhausern, Rotkreuz, Switzerland
4.25pm Whitney Hillier, Elena Moosmann, Liz Young
8pm       Stephanie Kyriacou, Tereza Kozeluhova, Leonie Harm
9.25pm Amy Walsh, Isabelle Boineau, Leticia Ras-Anderica

Defending champion: Carly Booth (2012)
Past Aussie champions: Nil
Top Aussie prediction: Stephanie Kyriacou
TV schedule: Live 10pm-2am Thursday; Live 10pm-1am Friday; 9.30pm-1am Saturday on Fox Sports 505

Korean PGA Tour
Shinhan Donghae Open
Bear’s Best Cheongna Golf Club, Incheon, South Korea
Aussies in the field: Won Joon Lee, Junseok Lee, Doeun An
TV schedule: Live 12pm-5pm Thursday, Friday; Live 12.30pm-5pm Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 503

* Starting from 10th tee

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