Australia’s Minjee Lee becomes the latest Australian to win a major champion winning the Evian Champion over the weekend. The victory came in record breaking fashion as Lee started the final round 7 shots back of the leaders. A 7 under 64 was enough to get her into a two person playoff at the Evian Resort in France.
Lee has long been known as one of the best current female golfers to not have a major championship to their name. Third place was as close as she had come previously, doing so at last year’s British Open and the 2017 ANA Inspirational. Lee addressed this point in her post-round press conference, saying “so many people have told me that a major was just round the corner, but it’s not easy to do”.
The final round heroics were reminiscent of fellow Aussie great Karie Webb, who is the only other female golfer to win a major starting the final round 7 shots back of the lead, doing so at the 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship, similarly, beating eventual runner-up Lorena Ochoa in a playoff.
Minjee’s flawless final round was deserving of a major championship, a bogey free round which included 7 birdied and 4 in her final 5 holes. Despite starting 7 shots back, Lee took the lead as she finished her round. Overnight leader Joeongeun Lee6 had 5 bogeys on her opening 9 and needed three straight birdies to finish to get her into the playoff. “I finished really strong and then the play-off was perfect. I had to wait to see if anyone would catch me – I thought someone would so I was pretty chilled before extra time” said Lee.
Lee6 hit her second shot into the water on the first playoff hole, which all but gave the Championship to Lee, who only needed a par or better on the par 5 18th,
but took a lip out eagle and tap in birdie. “I came into the week feeling good. But I also didn’t have too many expectations. I have just called my family back home – they are cheering but also shedding a few tears.”
It has certainly been a big few weeks for the Lee family with Minjee’s brother Min Woo winning the Scottish Open just a few weeks ago for his second European Tour win. In what can only be described as an incredibly talented family, they are now putting together quite the golfing resume, both also winning the Victorian Open at 13th
Beach, Minjee in 2018 and Min Woo in 2020. While the two have always had a healthy rivalry, Minjee now has the upper hand as a major champion, but the way Min Woo is going, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him up there in years to come.
Lee will now pack her bags and head to Tokyo with fellow Aussie Major Champion Hannah Green, as they look to bring home some more silverware at the Olympics.