Minjee Lee Gains Momentum Heading into Congressional
When Minjee Lee comes to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the end of the month, she most certainly should be considered the favorite.
Especially given her performance at the U.S. Women’s Open.
Lee, a winner already this season on the LPGA Tour, captured her second major championship title Sunday. She won the U.S. Women’s Open by four shots while her 13-under 271 was the lowest 72-hole total in the history of the U.S. Women’s Open.
“This is pretty special,” said Lee.
Lee put together as complete a performance as you could ask for this week at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club. She was 14th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 7th in Strokes Gained: Approach, T3 in Greens in Regulation, and 2nd in Strokes Gained: Putting. Everything, she said, was working well.
Although Lee shot an even-par 71 Sunday, she was too far ahead for any challenger to nip at her heels. Her opening rounds of 67-66-67 set her on track for a victory.
“I was pretty nervous all day, to be fair,” admitted Lee. “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. 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.”
Lee won the Amundi Evian Championship for her first major title last season. She’s won eight times on the LPGA Tour in her career and leads the season-long Race to CME Globe.
With the win Lee became just the third female golfer from Australia to win more than one major, joining Karrie Webb and Jan Stephenson.
“It's such a great honor just to be amongst those two names,” said Lee. “I think this will be huge for all the little girls and even the boys and the children watching. I know there's been a really big (golf) boom in (Australia). The girls have been a lot more interested in playing, so hopefully they watch me on TV and I can be a good role model to them and they'll start getting more involved.”
Mina Harigae, who held the 18-hole lead, finished second at 9 under for the week. Hyejin Choi finished third, while world No.1 Jin Young Ko finished fourth and Lydia Ko finished fifth.
Defending KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner Nelly Korda finished tied for 8th in her return to action. Korda, who suffered a blood clot in her arm earlier this year and needed surgery, teed it up for the first time on the LPGA Tour since February.
“I'm just grateful to be out here, honestly. That's what I was reminding myself,” said Korda. “In all, I'm pretty happy with how this week went. Had no expectations. I actually had my best finish in the Women's Open, so maybe I should just keep that going.”
The LPGA Tour plays two more events on its schedule before the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club where Korda will look to defend her title, and where Lee will come into another major trying to make a little more history.
“This is the one I've always wanted to win since I was a little kid, so it just feels pretty amazing to be able to get it done today,” said Lee. “I just can't believe it.”