US Women’s Open Champion Minjee Lee reflects on a “big step” for women’s golf after the historic payout

The Aussie claimed the highest payout in women golf story in Southern Pines, North Carolina, reaching its second major triumph with a record-breaking performance worthy of the $ 1.8 million award.

Lee headed into the final day riding the tide of unprecedented first three rounds, shooting 67, 66, 67 to break Juli Inkster’s 23-year 54-hole record with a par 200 of less than 13.

The sparkling start meant that even a level par 71 in the final round didn’t stop the 26-year-old from breaking the championship scoring record of 72 holes, beating Inkster, In Gee Chun and Annika Sorenstam by one stroke with her 13 – under 271 arrival.

With a six-stroke lead on the 12th hole and finishing four strokes ahead of American Mina Harigae, her victory seemed to be a procession even before the Aussie took the final tee, but not for Lee.

“I was nervous as hell,” Lee admitted to CNN’s World Sport. “But it was very nice.

“Going through that 18th hole … watching the whole crowd, watching the finish line, was a very special moment”.

Lee came to victory with a dominant performance at Southern Pines.

“It’s a great thing for women’s football”

Lifting the Harton S. Semple trophy, Lee became the first Australian to do so by Karrie Webb in 2001 and was rewarded for her efforts with a champagne shower courtesy of compatriot Hannah Green.

The other prize was an unprecedented prize pool of $ 1.8 million, an amount that alone eclipses Lee’s winnings for his most profitable season ever in 2018, where 10 top five finishes in 27 LPGA events l ‘have seen more than $ 1.5 million claim, based on data from the LPGA website.

Runner-up Harigae earned the biggest sum for second place in women’s golf history, taking home $ 1.08 million of a record $ 10 million prize pool.

Lee plays a shot on the seventeenth hole.
Although the rewards for women in the game still lag behind those for men, Jon Rahm earned $ 2.25 million from a total scholarship of $ 12.5 million for his triumph at the US Open in June 2021 – Lee sees that progress is being made.

“We aim higher every time,” Lee said. “For the USGA and the US Open to come forward and get started is a big step in the right direction.

“That’s a great thing for women’s play and the LPGA.”

Money matters dominated the golf world this week with the lucrative grand opening LIV Golf Tournament Thursday at the Centurion Club near London.
Dustin Johnson resigns from PGA Tour to play in the LIV Golf Series, while Phil Mickelson returns to golf in the event
The firm, backed by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, is committed to awarding $ 250 million in total prize money across eight tournaments. The former world number 1 Dustin Johnson announced he was stepping down from the PGA Tour to participate in the event.

Though Lee admitted he didn’t follow the story closely, he understood the controversy the new event had drawn.

“I don’t know much, obviously it was a little controversial,” Lee said.

“I guess it’s just a perspective on where you are in your life right now,” he added.

role model

The triumph at Southern Pines marked the second major of the Australian’s career, adding to her victory at the Evian Championship last year and her eighth LPGA Tour win.

But despite the accolades, Lee points to a legacy that extends beyond cash prizes and trophies, inspiring the next generation of young golfers.

“We hope they can watch me on TV and I can be a great role model for all girls and boys around the world to follow your dreams,” said Lee. “You can do it. Anyone can do it.

“As long as you stick to your plan and stick to what you love, I think you will always do the right thing.”

Its rise to become the No. 3 golfers around the world have been helped by the encouragement of their family, none more so than younger brother Min Woo Lee, himself a golf pro on the PGA Tour.

Min Woo Lee smiles with her sister Minjee Lee during the par three race before the April Masters.
“This hits hard. Tears come to my eyes. So so proud,” hey tweeted after her sister’s triumph, just another example of the “great support” Lee’s family has given her since she stepped into the scene with her 2012 US Girls’ Junior win.

“They have been with me every step of the way and I have always only received encouragement from them,” he said.

“If I wanted to practice, I could go practice. If I didn’t, I shouldn’t have. They’ve always been a great support and still are and it’s been a really great journey so far.”