Aussies on Tour: Lee’s opportunity lost at US Women’s Open - PGA of Australia

Aussies on Tour: Lee’s opportunity lost at US Women’s Open

Australian Minjee Lee has endured a horror back nine to let a third major championship slip through her fingers at the US Women’s Open.

Tied for the lead and playing in the final group at Lancaster Country Club, the two-time major champion was the leader by two after the first hole on Sunday.

Her birdie from just outside 10 feet and bogeys by 54-hole co-leaders Wichanee Meechai and Andrea Lee gave Lee a front-running position that she seemed destined to maintain.

When Andrea Lee made double-bogey on four and Meechai tripled the par-3 sixth after finding the penalty area with her tee shot, Minjee’s lead had grown to three strokes despite a three-putt bogey of her own on six.

Lee let a birdie chance slip by the right edge of the hole at the par-5 seventh yet would stand on the tee of the par-4 ninth three shots in front of the field at 4-under par.

A tee shot that found the fairway bunker led to a bogey on nine which would signify the beginning of the end.

Another three-putt on 10 saw Minjee fall into a tie for the lead with eventual champion Yuka Saso (68) at 2-under, but the tables would soon turn dramatically.

As Saso birdied the par-5 13th ahead, Minjee’s tee shot at the treacherous par-3 12th trickled back into the penalty area fronting the green, the double-bogey putting her three shots back in the blink of an eye.

It was a place from which she was unable to recover, making a second double-bogey on 14 followed by bogey on 15 for a final round of 8-over 78 and tie for ninth, seven shots back of Saso.

“I started good. Felt like I hit it pretty good; just missed a couple putts for birdie early and then I kind of blew up from there,” was Lee’s frank admission post-round.

“Obviously I’m going to acknowledge my disappointment and then come back stronger, take the positives out of the week.

“It’s a lot of pressure on the last day, so wasn’t my best performance but I’m sure there will be many better performances ahead.”

As Lee struggled, fellow West Australian Hannah Green matched the low round of the tournament, climbing into a tie for 16th with a 4-under 66 with Sarah Kemp and Gabriela Ruffels both even par for their final rounds.

Birdies at seven, nine and 11 generated the momentum that Green had been chasing all week, completing her climb up the leaderboard with birdies from five and three feet at 16 and 17.

“I feel like I gave myself better putts for birdie today, a lot more uphill putts, which was nice,” said Green.

“I felt like the first few rounds I had a lot of double breakers that had a couple feet of break. You can’t be aggressive with those because your eye is just not used to seeing that.

“The game plan was pretty much the same the entire week, it was just the execution that was different today.”

It was a near miss, too, for Rod Pampling at the Principal Charity Classic on the PGA TOUR Champions.

Tied for the lead entering the final round at Wakonda Club in Des Mines, Pampling kept pace with Ernie Els on the front nine but the South African surged clear with two birdies and an eagle shortly after the turn, Pampling’s 3-under 69 good enough for a share of third.

Kirsten Rudgeley finished just two shots shy of the playoff as she grabbed a top-five finish at the Dormy Open Helsingborg on the Ladies European Tour while Kiwi Ryan Fox continued his strong form on the PGA TOUR with a tie for seventh at the RBC Canadian Open.

Photo: Chris Keane/USGA


US Women’s Open
Lancaster Country Club, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
1          Yuka Saso                    68-71-69-68—276       $US2.4m
T9        Minjee Lee                   70-69-66-78—283       $271,732.67
T16      Hannah Green              76-71-72-66—285       $161,840.67
T29      Sarah Kemp                 75-72-72-70—289       $68,873.14
T51      Gabriela Ruffels           75-73-75-70—293       $26,209
T58      Amelia Garvey (NZ)      76-71-74-73—294       $23,035.89
MC       Lydia Ko (NZ)                80-73—153
MC       Steph Kyriacou             77-76—153
MC       Keeley Marx (a)            76-81—157

RBC Canadian Open
Hamilton Golf & Country Club, Hamilton, Ontario
1          Robert MacIntyre         64-66-66-68—264       $US1.692m
T7        Ryan Fox (NZ)               66-64-70-70—270       $295,317
T42      Adam Scott                  70-69-70-69—278       $29,986
MC       Aaron Baddeley           77-71—148
MC       Harrison Endycott        72-79—151

DP World Tour
European Open
Green Eagle Golf Courses, Hamburg, Germany
1          Laurie Canter                68-66-73-72—279       €392,765.45
T65      Daniel Hillier (NZ)         77-70-77-77—301       €5,660.44
MC       Haydn Barron               77-71—148
MC       Jason Scrivener            75-76—151
MC       Sam Jones (NZ)            76-75—151
MC       David Micheluzzi          74-78—152

Ladies European Tour
Dormy Open Helsingborg
Allerum Golf Club, Sweden
1          Perrine Delacour          68-70-67—205 €45,000
T5        Kirsten Rudgeley          69-71-67—207 €11,200
T64      Momoka Kobori (NZ)   75-70-74—219 €885
MC       Amy Walsh                   73-76—149

Korn Ferry Tour
UNC Health Championship
Raleigh Country Club, Raleigh, North Carolina
1          Kaito Onishi                 68-69-69-66—272       $US180,000
T38      Rhein Gibson               72-70-66-73—281       $4,915
MC       Brett Drewitt                71-72—143
MC       Dimi Papadatos           66-77—143

PGA TOUR Champions
Principal Charity Classic
Wakonda Club, Des Moines, Iowa
1          Ernie Els                       62-68-65—195 $US300,000
T3        Rod Pampling              65-65-69—199 $120,000
T6        Vijay Singh (FI)             64-68-68—200 $76,000
T8        Steven Alker (NZ)         67-68-66—201 $60,000
T10      David Bransdon           68-68-66—202 $50,000
T12      Stuart Appleby             68-69-66—203 $38,400
T12      Steve Allan                   69-66-68—203 $38,400
T18      Michael Wright            67-70-68—205 $23,844
T27      Richard Green              70-69-67—206 $16,600
T32      Cameron Percy             66-69-72—207 $12,133
T41      David McKenzie           70-70-68—208 $8,800
T47      John Senden                70-69-70—209 $6,400

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