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Minjee Falters, Alex Breaks Through in Portland

Minjee Lee's chance for a 5th LPGA Tour title went begging. (Photo: Ladies European Tour)
Minjee Lee has squandered a great chance to win her 5th LPGA Tour title at the Portland Classic, closing with a 77 as American Marina Alex stormed home to record her first LPGA victory.

In her 124th LPGA Tour start, 28 year old Alex closed with a 65 to eventually win by four shots from Women’s British Open Champion Georgia Hall and six clear of Japan's Ayako Uehara.

The news was not so good for Lee however who, after trailing Hall by just two heading into the final round, carded five bogeys against no birdies to finish eight shots from the winner and alone in 4th place.  

Hall meanwhile was left to lament a disappointing 75 on Sunday.

Alex had begun the final round six shots off the hot pace set by Hall but with an outward nine of 30, she hit the front at the 8th hole and was never again headed.

Even a bogey at the last could not detract from her brilliant final round and first win since joining the LPGA Tour in 2013.

Alex was helped in her cause by having the caddie of last year’s winner Stacy Lewis on the bag this week and she was full of praise for his role. With Lewis expecting her first child in November, Travis Wilson has worked for Alex of late.

“Yeah, it's really cool, said Alex. “He's such a wonderful guy, and he has such a calm demeanor about him, and it definitely helped me relax, and he had so much fun the past three weeks. He's caddied for me the past three weeks. I was just kind of waiting for some good golf, and I'm really happy he was along for the ride with me.”

Lee’s fellow Australian Su Oh recovered some of the ground she lost following her round of 77 on Saturday with a round of 69 today to finish in a share of 9th place, Katherine Kirk was 30th and Rebecca Artis 42nd.   

The LPGA Tour now has a one week break ahead of the Evian Masters in France. 

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