Tour News

Rookie Jeongeun Lee6 wins US Women's Open

An emotional JeongeunLee6 (left) congratulated by runner-up and former winner, So Yeon Ryu (Photo: USGA / Chris Keane)
Jeongeun Lee6 became the sixth Korean in the last ten years to win the US Women’s Open, finishing two shots head of Angel Yin, former champion, So Yeon Ryu, and Lexi Thompson to win the greatest prize in women’s golf.

Lee, who is in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, came from two shots off the pace held by Frenchwoman Celine Boutier and China's Yu Liu, overcoming a bogey at her first hole and holding on despite bogeys at two of her last three to edge clear. As her nearest challengers also fell victim to the final few holes, the title was hers.

Speaking through an interpreter, Lee was determined that if and when she gets in such a position again she will speak in English which immediately won her over to the assembled media.

“I apologize that I cannot speak English. I'm still trying really hard. I'm still studying for English, so next time if I win the tournament, I will start speaking English.

“Thank you so much for all the organization for the U.S. Women's Open tournament. I appreciate it with all the support, especially volunteers, staff, security, and fans.

"Also, I sincerely thank my sponsors, especially Noble Land, the president of the Noble Land and the vice president of Noble Land. And apparel sponsor Fantom, and the Class Hyo Sung, Panasonic, Shinhan PWM, and Callaway and Nike, who have been supporting me all the time.

“And, of course, I want to thank my family, who's in Korea right now watching me on TV and supporting me all the time. I couldn't imagine it without you guys, with all your support.”

Despite her impressive season to date in America, Lee was surprised by her success so soon at this level.

“As I'm a rookie player, I didn't even expect to win the tournament this fast. I think this is very lucky that I won this Major championship tournament.”

Like many Koreans who get to play the LPGA Tour, Lee learned her professional ropes on the Korean LPGA Tour where three levels of competition ensure there is ample opportunity for game growth and improvement.

Lee, however, was beginning to get frustrated with playing in Korea and was keen to test her skills on an even bigger stage.

“So playing in an LPGA tournament -- I mean, my family's been watching me through TV, but I told my family that I wanted to play the LPGA for a long time because this is the most I've ever enjoyed playing the LPGA tournament so far.

“So when I was in KLPGA, I actually wanted to stop playing because I wasn't really enjoying too much about it. But when I came to LPGA tournament, like I started wanting to play more for a long time.”

Just like several others before her, however, it has been that grounding in Korea that has allowed her to win such a big event so early in her LPGA Tour career.

It was, to a large extent, a case of Lee remaining as the last woman standing as those around her fell on the increasingly demanding layout at the Country Club of Charleston.

Many players had chances over the closing nine holes but slowly but surely they fell victim to the Seth Raynor designed test and despite her two late bogeys Lee had done enough to win.

With seven top twenty finishes in eight starts prior to this week in her rookie season, Lee was already well ahead in the race for the Rookie of the Year title but she took that to another level with her victory this week.

Minjee Lee the leading Australian in 12th place.

Minjee Lee finished as the leading Australian although she would be five shots from the winner and in a share of 12th, just short of her previous best US Women’s Open effort of 11th.

Hannah Green recorded the best final round of the day, a four under 67 improving her 34 places, to finish tied for 34th with, amongst others, her fellow Australian Katherine Kirk.





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