How it started versus how it’s going? Minjee Lee only took up golf because every other member of her family was into it; now she is a major champion.
When the majority of Australia went to sleep on Sunday night Lee’s prospects of the breakthrough major that has seemed a long time coming for someone still just 25 years of age looked unlikely to say the least.
Even after a 6-under par round of 65 on Saturday Lee trailed Korea’s Jeongeun Lee6 by seven strokes, a deficit no women’s major winner had ever overcome on their way to championship glory.
Yet in a period of unprecedented success for Aussie golfers across the globe Lee gave us a major moment to savour, our first golf major championship since Hannah Green’s 2019 Women’s PGA Championship and just the fourth Australian woman to win one of golf’s major titles.
And it all began by simply following her mother, Clara Lee, to the golf course.
“When we were really little we used to go down to the driving range with Mum when she was teaching,” Lee recalled.
“Mum knows a lot about golf and our whole family played golf, so it’s just like we’ve always been around it.
“And Min Woo was always really interested more than I was. I just followed in everybody’s footsteps.”
Talking to the West Australian newspaper three months before the first of her daughter’s six LPGA Tour wins to date, Clara revealed the makings of a major champion and the inner determination that perhaps Minjee didn’t even understand at the time.
“She wasn’t practising because someone told her to. She was practising because she wanted to,” Clara said.
She now joins Jan Stephenson (1981 du Maurier Classic, 1982 LPGA Championship, 1983 US Women’s Open), Karrie Webb (1999 du Maurier Classic, 2000 and 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship, 2000 and 2001 US Women’s Open, 2001 LPGA Championship, 2002 Women’s British Open) and Hannah Green (2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship) as Australia’s female major champions.
Sure to follow close behind in the footsteps of Lee and Green is amateur star Grace Kim, who continues to accrue experience in professional events.
A two-time winner already in pro events this year, Kim was tied for seventh at the Women’s All Pro Tour event in Mississippi as she gears up for LPGA Tour Qualifying School next month.
The best of the Aussie men this week was South Australian Wade Ormsby at the European Tour’s Cazoo Open in Wales, who rose 15 positions on the final day with a closing 4-under 67 to finish tied for 10th.
There was a major championship up for grabs on the Champions Tour also at The Senior Open Championship in London, Welshman Stephen Dodd coming out on top with Peter Fowler the best of the Aussies in a tie for 28th and Kiwi Michael Long flying home with a round of 5-under 65 to earn a share of 35th.
The Aumundi Evian Championship
Evian Resort Golf Club, Evian-les-Bains, France
Winner Minjee Lee 68-69-65-64—266 $US675,000
T6 Lydia Ko 68-65-68-70—271 $123,703
T19 Sarah Kemp 67-69-70-71—277 $49,481
T65 Stephanie Kyriacou 73-69-69-76—287 $10,668
MC Katherine Kirk 73-72—145
MC Su Oh 73-73—146
TPC Twin Cities, Blaine, Minnesota
Winner Cameron Champ 69-67-67-66—269 $US1.188m
T28 Cam Davis 71-69-73-64—277 $44,220
T34 Cameron Percy 69-71-71-67—278 $34,386
T51 Aaron Baddeley 72-68-67-74—281 $15,774
MC Greg Chalmers 71-71—142
MC Lucas Herbert 68-76—144
MC Rhein Gibson 74-73—147
MC John Senden 78-73—151
Cazoo Open supported by Gareth Bale
The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport, Wales
Winner Nacho Elvira 64-67-66-71—268 €191,570
T10 Wade Ormsby 67-72-70-67—276 €21,093
T32 Deyen Lawson 72-70-70-69—281 €9,211
T40 Maverick Antcliff 69-74-70-69—282 €7,389
T47 Bryden Macpherson 67-76-70-70—283 €6,044
T52 Brad Kennedy 70-69-73-72—284 €5,063
T64 Scott Hend 71-72-73-73—289 €3,858
MC Josh Geary 71-74—145
MC Elvis Smylie 74-71—145
The Senior Open Presented by Rolex
Sunningdale Golf Club, Sunningdale, Berkshire, England
Winner Stephen Dodd 66-71-62-68—267 €333,836
T28 Peter Fowler 67-70-73-71—281 €17,975
T35 Michael Long 71-74-73-65—283 €14,210
T53 David McKenzie 68-77-69-73—287 €7,521
T64 Robert Allenby 67-75-76-71—289 €4,546
MC Michael Campbell 75-76—151
Korn Ferry Tour
Price Cutter Charity Championship
Highland Springs Country Club, Springfield, Missouri
Winner Dylan Wu 68-65-63-65—261 $US108,000
T6 Nick Voke 68-68-68-64—268 $17,880
T11 Steven Alker 67-65-68-69—269 $12,378
T19 Brett Drewitt 69-69-65-68—271 $6,429
T67 Jamie Arnold 66-69-67-77—279 $2,382
MC Brett Coletta 71-69—140
MC Curtis Luck 72-70—142
WD Harrison Endycott 75
Korean PGA Tour
Yamaha Honors K Open
Sollaga Country Club, Taean County, South Korea
Winner Hanbyeol Kim 64-67-64-65—260
MC Kevin Chun 70-70—140
MC Junseok Lee 70-70—140
MC Wonjoon Lee 73-70—143
Margara Golf Club, Fubine, Italy
Winner Ricardo Gouveia 67-68-69-64—268 €48,000
T21 Daniel Hillier 68-72-69-69—278 €3,067
T44 Blake Windred 69-69-71-73—282 €1,650
MC Dimitrios Papadatos 70-72—142
Daito Kentaku eheyanet ladies
Takino CC, Hokkaido
Winner Jiyai Shin 68-68-66-71—273 ¥21.6m
T53 Karis Davidson 74-71-72-72—289 ¥414,000
Twin Bridges Championship
Pinehaven Country Club, Albany, New York
Winner Lilia Vu 70-67-68—205 $US26,250
T28 Robyn Choi 72-73-70—215 $1,591
T48 Soo Jin Lee 72-72-76—220 $796
MC Stephanie Na 77-72—149
MC Julianne Alvarez 79-77—156
MC Hira Naveed 79-77—156
MC Julienne Soo 83-74—157
WD Gabriela Ruffels 76
Women’s All Pro Tour
Natchez Golf Classic
Beau Pre CC, Natchez, Mississippi
Winner Ana Paula Valdes 65-67-71-67—270 $US8,000
T7 Grace Kim (a) 70-67-71-70—278 ——
MC Laura Hoskin 74-75-78—227