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 six-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 major championship since Hannah Green’s 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and become 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 Open) and Hannah Green (2019 KPMG Women's PGA Championship) as Australia’s women to win 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 four-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
Winner: Minjee Lee
T19: Sarah Kemp
T65: Stephanie Kyriacou
MC: Katherine Kirk, Su Oh
T28: Cam Davis
T34: Cameron Percy
T51: Aaron Baddeley
MC: Greg Chalmers, Lucas Herbert, Rhein Gibson, John Senden
Cazoo Open supported by Gareth Bale
T10: Wade Ormsby
T32: Deyen Lawson
T40: Maverick Antcliff
T47: Bryden Macpherson
T52: Brad Kennedy
T64: Scott Hend
MC: Elvis Smylie
The Senior Open Presented by Rolex
T28: Peter Fowler
T35: Michael Long
T53: David McKenzie
T64: Robert Allenby
Korn Ferry Tour
Price Cutter Charity Championship
T19: Brett Drewitt
T67: Jamie Arnold
MC: Brett Coletta, Curtis Luck
WD: Harrison Endycott
Korean PGA Tour
Yamaha Honors K Open
MC: Kevin Chun, Junseok Lee, Wonjoon Lee
T44: Blake Windred
MC: Dimitrios Papadatos
Daito Kentaku eheyanet ladies
T53: Karis Davidson
Twin Bridges Championship
T28: Robyn Choi
T48: Soo Jin Lee
MC: Stephanie Na
MC: Hira Naveed
MC: Julienne Soo
WD: Gabriela Ruffels
Women’s All Pro Tour
Natchez Golf Classic
T7: Grace Kim (a)