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LPGA Minjee Lee sets scoring record in U.S. Women’s Open victory

Minjee Lee of Australia shot an even-par 71 on Sunday and cruised to a four-shot victory while winning the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C.

Lee finished at 13-under 271 while comfortably outdistancing Mina Harigae and winning her second career major title.

Her total set a U.S. Women’s Open record, bettering the mark of 272 shared by Annika Sorenstam (1996 at Pine Needles), Juli Inkster (1999 at Old Waverly) and In Gee Chun (2015 at Lancaster).

Lee’s second major crown was easier than her first, as she led throughout the final round. Last year, she rallied from seven strokes behind to beat South Korea’s Jeongeun Lee6 in a playoff at the 2021 Evian Championship in France to claim her first major title.

Lee, 26, joins Jan Stephenson (1983) and Karrie Webb (2000, 2001) as the only Australians to win the U.S. Women’s Open. Webb’s second victory also came at Pine Needles.

“This is really special,” Lee said in her press conference. “This is the one I’ve always wanted to win since I was a little kid. It feels pretty amazing to be able to get it done today. I just can’t believe it.”

Lee received a record check of $1.8 million for her victory. It is the eighth LPGA title of her career.

“We’re moving in the right direction. I think it’s only going to get better and better from here,” Lee said of the winner’s check. “It’s such a large sum and I’m really honored to be the first winner of the sum, but we’re only going to get better and better.”

Lee began the final round with a three-shot lead over Harigae and had four birdies and four bogeys in her round. She birdied her first two holes to jumpstart her day.

“I was pretty nervous all round,” Lee said. “I started good, I had two birdies off the bat and it was nice to have that little buffer. I didn’t hit it that well today. I had really good saves.”

Harigae shot 1-over 72 on Sunday and finished at 9-under 275.

She received $1 million for finishing second and said she did think of the prize money while coming down the stretch.

“I’m not going to lie,” Harigae said. “My stomach hurt the last couple holes. I was really stressed out. I was focusing one shot at a time and making solid contact and just hitting the putts.”

Harigae, 32, was unable to make a run with just one birdie (No. 15) on the day. She bogeyed two others.

Harigae, who has never won an LPGA title, said she was proud of herself.

“I really am able to handle myself out there and I belong out there.” Harigae said.

South Korea’s Hye-Jin Choi shot 70 and finished third at 7-under 277.

World No. 1 Jin Young Ko (71) of South Korea was fourth at 6 under and New Zealand’s Lydia Ko (72) was fifth at 5 under.

Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist (73) and England’s Bronte Law (74) tied for sixth finish at 4-under 280.

Nelly Korda (73), Megan Khang (74) and Ireland’s Leona Maguire (74) tied for eighth a 2 under.

Sweden’s Ingrid Lindblad (76) was the low amateur with a 1-under 283. She tied for 11th place.

Canada’s Brooke Henderson (73) tied for 15th at 2-over 286, Lexi Thompson (76) finished in a tie for 20th at 3 over and Danielle Kang (79) tied for 63rd at 13-over 297.

–Field Level Media

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