Minjee Lee wins US Ladies’s Open in record-breaking vogue
10 mins read

Minjee Lee wins US Ladies’s Open in record-breaking vogue

Minjee Lee turned simply the third Australian girl to personal a number of main wins together with her victory at Pine Needles — and he or she did so in record-breaking vogue.

Darren Riehl

SOUTHERN PINES, NC — Karrie Webb and Jan Stephenson have lengthy been the usual for Australian ladies’s golfers. With 10 main titles between them, any dialogue of biggest golfers from Down Underneath began — and ended — with the names Webb and Stephenson.

On Sunday afternoon at Pine Needles, that duo turned a trio.

Minjee Lee, daughter of Western Australia, received the 77th US Ladies’s Open in dominant vogue, defeating a area of the most effective gamers on the earth by 4 strokes. In doing so, she turns into simply the third Aussie girl to personal a number of main titles.

“It is such an awesome honor simply to be amongst these two names,” Lee stated. “It is simply actually, actually particular.”

Minjee Lee’s smile beamed after she claimed her second main title.

Getty Pictures

The driving vary is a lonely place on Sunday afternoons, and this Sunday within the Carolina Sandhills was no totally different.

Because the pretenders filtered out, and the true contenders arrived, actual property on the again of the Pine Needles vary was plentiful. With practically each competitor already on the course (or on a aircraft to their subsequent vacation spot), and few followers making the tracks to the far finish of the vary, gamers in the previous few teams had the place largely to themselves.

Lydia Ko occupied the spot on the far proper, striping excessive attracts with the breeze as her caddy and mom watched on. A number of paces to her left, Bronte Legislation prepped for maybe essentially the most consequential spherical of her life. With a $10 million purse up for grabs, the Englishwoman was in line for the most important paycheck of her profession.

Additional down the vary, with a row of empty placards in between, Mina Harigae went by means of her personal warmup. Reminiscent of been the case all week, her matte PXG irons made repeated — and satisfying — thuds as she labored her approach by means of the bag. Her caddie, outfitted in crimson high-top Jordans 1s (maybe in a nod to Harigae’s self-proclaimed obsession with the model), watched and inspired his professional, understanding full effectively this may very well be a life-changing day.

Mina Harigae’s caddy sported Jordan 1s for the ultimate spherical.

Darren Riehl

Lastly, there was Lee, donning a neon inexperienced polo with a easy phrase on the again: “Win ​​in any respect prices.” It was an applicable reminder contemplating the stakes. The 54-hole chief arrived to the vary final, and left loads of house between herself and her competitors.

It was an applicable scene — Lee arriving on her personal phrases and with an enormous hole between herself and the competitors — as a result of the scoreboard mirrored the same dynamic. There was Lee, after which there was everybody else.

By way of 54 holes, Lee had dictated the tempo at Pine Needles. She’d performed fearlessly — and, at instances, flawlessly — and rewrote the US Ladies’s Open file guide within the course of.

Lee wanted simply 200 strokes to play the primary three rounds, the fewest of any opponents within the historical past of the championship, and only one participant was inside three photographs of her 54-hole lead.

There was Lee, after which there was everybody else.

The theme continued through the last spherical, and by day’s finish, the 26-year-old was hoisting the US Ladies’s Open trophy.

Minjee Lee was assured in entrance of the media all week lengthy.

Darren Riehl

On Saturday night, as Lee addressed the media following her third-round 67, she provided a assured, and prescient, reply when requested about her final-round sport plan.

“I am simply going to try to make as many birdies as I can,” she stated.

She made good on her promise.

After surviving the pre-round jitters, Lee teed up her Srixon on the primary tee and ripped driver down the left facet of the green. Her second swing of the day despatched the ball piercing by means of the jap breeze, and completed inside 30 ft of the flag. Two putts later, her first circle of the day was on the cardboard.

Her second gap was equally fruitful. Fairway, inexperienced, jarred putt (a protracted one this time). Lee’s lead was all of the sudden as much as 5 as she walked to the third tee field at 15 beneath.

minjee lee celebrates us open

In Minjee Lee’s Sunday triumph, the US Ladies’s Open discovered its enamel


James Colgan

However on a day when Pine Needles (lastly) performed like a real US Ladies’s Open check, the center portion of Lee’s spherical was a battle.

Lee, who did not have her common ball-striking moxie Sunday, dropped a shot on the fifth, and one other on the seventh. The course performed practically two-and-a-half photographs tougher on Sunday than it did the day prior, so the miscues have been comprehensible.

However even when the ship was unsteadied, there was nothing that would sink the Aussie. Not a missed inexperienced, or a wonky lie in a sandy native space, or a three-putt on the difficult Bermuda greens. As a rule, when Lee discovered hassle, she escaped unscathed.

“I did not hit it that effectively,” she stated. “I had actually good saves, up-and-downs from a variety of locations … That was sufficient to get it executed at present.”

When she stepped onto the 18th tee, her lead was 5 over her enjoying companion. The one drama that remained was the query of if Lee might break the US Ladies’s Open scoring file.

Minjee Lee wanted only a bogey on the 72nd gap to interrupt the US Ladies’s Open scoring file.

Darren Riehl

The present file has stood for 26 years. Annika Sorenstam set the mark of 272 in 1996 — at this very course — and nobody has bested the mark since. It has twice been tied, by Juli Inkster in 1999 and In Gee Chun in 2015, however nobody has been in a position to go decrease than Sorenstam did at Pine Needles in 1996.

A lot has modified about Pine Needles since Sorenstam introduced it to its knees. Kyle Franz led a serious restoration venture in 2017, and this week the course regarded quite a bit like what Donald Ross envisioned when he constructed the place within the Nineteen Twenties. Sandy native areas line the fairways, and the bunkers are jagged and scrambled across the edges.

The greens have modified, too. The floor at 18 was a specific focus for Franz and his staff. As part of the venture, he prolonged the back-right portion, connecting two mounds to create probably the most devilish pin places you may ever see.

As destiny would have it, that location was in play for the ultimate 18 holes of this Open. To interrupt the scoring file, Lee must navigate it — and card no worse than bogey.

Her tee shot couldn’t have been positioned in a greater spot to entry the pin location — left facet of the green — and her strategy landed in the midst of the inexperienced. Ultimately, she might take a deep breathe and benefit from the stroll.

“I simply stated to myself, ‘That is fairly superb,’” Lee stated. “That is fairly cool, simply wanting on the entire crowd and simply everyone down the fairways.”

The gang showered her in reward as she made the ultimate stroll — there have been even a number of “Aussie Aussie Aussie!” chants — and the solar dipped under the towering pines.

After Harigae tapped in for her par, the stage was set for the coronation. Lee, maybe on account of the adrenaline and emotion pumping by means of her, wanted three putts to complete the job, however the consequence was all the identical.

She was a serious champion as soon as once more, and the US Ladies’s Open scoring file was hers alone.

“I am unable to consider it proper now,” Lee stated. “It has been my dream since I used to be a little bit lady. It is the one which I at all times needed to win on; now I’ve executed it, and simply feels superb.”

Minjee Lee cruised to a dominant four-shot win.

Darren Riehl

With the trophy ceremony full, and her neon shirt however soaked in champagne, Lee walked into the interview space, trophy in hand. Her smile beamed as she scrolled by means of her telephone and ready to be peppered with questions.

“I simply cannot consider it,” she stated.

Karrie Webb had already texted a message congratulating Lee on the win.

Lee’s sport had answered many questions over 72 holes within the Sandhills, however at the least one query nonetheless stays: Had she but mirrored on her particular place in her nation’s golf historical past?

“I have never been in a position to even assume correctly for the time being,” she stated.

Here is a technique to consider it: From today ahead, when the topic of biggest Australian ladies’s golfers is broached, three names will come to thoughts.

Karrie Webb, Jan Stephenson and Minjee Lee.

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com the place he spends his days running a blog, producing and enhancing. Previous to becoming a member of the staff at GOLF.com, he attended the College of Texas adopted by stops with Workforce USA, the Inexperienced Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all issues instruction and covers beginner and ladies’s golf.