US Women’s Open champion Minjee Lee reflects on a ‘big step’ for women’s golf after historic payout

The Australian claimed the very best payout in girls’s golf historical past in Southern Pines, North Carolina, cruising to her second main triumph with a record-breaking efficiency worthy of the $1.eight million prize.

Lee headed into the final day using the tide of an unprecedented first three rounds, capturing 67, 66, 67 to interrupt Juli Inkster’s 23-year-old file throughout 54 holes with a 13-under par 200.

The scintillating begin meant that even a level-par 71 on the ultimate spherical did not cease the 26-year-old from breaking the 72-hole championship scoring file, pipping Inkster, In Gee Chun and Annika Sorenstam by one stroke along with her 13-under 271 end.

Main by six pictures on the 12th gap and ending 4 strokes forward of American Mina Harigae, her victory had appeared to be a procession even earlier than the Australian took to the ultimate tee — however to not Lee.

“I used to be nervous as hell,” Lee admitted to CNN’s World Sport. “Nevertheless it was fairly cool.

“Strolling down that 18th gap … all the gang, wanting on the end line — it was only a actually particular second.”

‘It is an incredible factor for the ladies’s recreation’

In lifting the Harton S. Semple trophy, Lee grew to become the primary Australian to take action since Karrie Webb in 2001, and was rewarded for her efforts with a champagne bathe courtesy of compatriot Hannah Inexperienced.

The opposite reward was the unprecedented $1.eight million prize pot. That sum alone eclipses Lee’s winnings for her most worthwhile ever season in 2018, the place 10 high 5 finishes over 27 LPGA occasions noticed her declare over $1.5 million, based mostly on figures from the LPGA website.

Second-placed Harigae earned the most important runner-up sum in girls’s golf historical past, taking house $1.08 million of the file $10 million total prize purse.

Lee plays a shot on the 17th hole.
Although prize purses for ladies within the recreation nonetheless path these of the lads — Jon Rahm earned $2.25 million from a complete $12.5 million purse for his US Open triumph in June 2021 — Lee sees progress being made.

“We’re aiming for increased and better every time,” Lee stated. “For the USGA and the US Open to step up and begin that, it is a massive step in the best route.

“It is an incredible factor for the ladies’s recreation and the LPGA.”

Questions of cash have dominated the golfing world this week with the profitable inaugural LIV Golf Tournament set to tee off on the Centurion Membership close to London on Thursday.
Dustin Johnson resigns from PGA Tour to play in LIV Golf series, as Phil Mickelson returns to golf to play in event
The enterprise, backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund, pledges to award $250 million in whole prize cash throughout eight tournaments. Former World No. 1 Dustin Johnson announced he was resigning from the PGA Tour to compete within the occasion.

Whereas Lee admitted she hadn’t been following the story carefully, she understood the controversy the brand new occasion had attracted.

“I do not actually know an excessive amount of about that, clearly it has been just a little bit controversial,” Lee stated.

“I assume it is simply perspective on the place you might be in your life proper now,” she added.

Function mannequin

Triumph in Southern Pines marked the second main of the Australian’s profession, including to her triumph on the Evian Championship final 12 months, and her eighth win on the LPGA Tour.

However regardless of the accolades, Lee is concentrating on a legacy past prize cash and trophies — inspiring the subsequent era of younger golfers.

“Hopefully they will watch me on TV and I generally is a nice function mannequin for all the ladies and boys all around the globe to comply with your goals,” Lee stated. “You are able to do it. Anyone can do it.

“So long as you keep on with your plan and keep on with what you like then I feel you are at all times going to be doing the best factor.”

Her rise to develop into the No. three golfer on the planet has been aided by the encouragement of her household, none extra so than youthful brother Min Woo Lee, a golf professional himself on the PGA Tour.

Min Woo Lee smiles with his sister  Minjee Lee during the par three contest prior to the Masters in April.
“This one hits arduous. Tears in my eyes. So so proud,” he tweeted following his sister’s triumph, in simply one other instance of the “nice help” Lee’s household have given her since she burst onto the scene with victory at the usGirls’ Junior in 2012.

“They have been with me each step of the way in which and I’ve solely at all times received encouragement from them,” she stated.

“If I wished to follow, I may go follow. If I did not then I did not should. They’ve simply at all times been an incredible help and nonetheless are and it is simply been a extremely nice journey to this point.”

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