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Minjee Lee Lands Starring Role at L.A. Open

The end of a brilliant week in Los Angeles (Photo: Getty Images)
In one of the more impressive performances on the LPGA in some time, Australian golfer Minjee Lee has won her 5th LPGA Tour title with a four-shot victory over South Korean, Sei Young Kim, at the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open in Los Angeles.

Not only was it Lee's margin of the victory but its clinical manner that was so convincing, Lee dropping shots on only four of the 72 holes at Wilshire Country Club and turning her one-shot 54-hole lead into four.

Lee continues a season that has already seen her finish runner-up on two occasions and once 3rd and the victory will see her move well clear in second position on the 2019 money list behind South Korean, Jin Young Ko.

The 22-year-old will also move to second place in the Rolex World Ranking behind Ko. 

Lee’s only real mistake for the week came early in round three when after birdies at her opening two holes she triple-bogeyed the 3rd.

She quickly put that behind her and finished with a third round of 67.

As her nearest rival through 54 holes, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, struggled under the weight of inexperience at this level Lee moved forward with an outward nine of 33 and although she would drop a shot at the 11th there was not enough pressure from behind to bother the Perth native.

Lee created plenty of chances over the closing few holes but converted only two although it was more than enough to see her through to a most impressive victory.

The World No. 4 has established herself amongst the elite of the game and her next task is surely to perform in major championships to the same level she does in regular LPGA Tour events.

With five LPGA victories, Lee is a long way from the massive 41 of Karrie Webb and very much aware of the significance of Webb in her own career.  

“Yeah, she was pretty much my first role model coming from Australia,” said Lee. “She's one of the best, so, yeah, it's really special for her to be, I mean, being around in my life. I got the pleasure to play with her on tour at the same time, so that's pretty special to me.”

Other Australians in the event included Hannah Green who finished 14th, her second best of the year, Katherine Kirk was 37th and in her last event before taking maternity leave, Sarah Jane Smith was 42nd.  

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