SOUTH PINES, NC (AP) – The stunning Australian Mingji Lee finally took the win.
Lee won the U.S. Women’s Open Sunday by four shots over U.S. Mina Harigai at Pine Needles for $1.8 million, the largest prize in women’s golf history.
Lee finished with a set score of 71 and finished with a 13-under 271 after breaking the 16-under championship record set by American Julie Inkster in 1999 at Old Waverly.
He told me, “I have no words.” “I can’t believe it now. No; it’s so wonderful and so special and a great honor. It’s been my dream since I was a kid. It was the only one I wanted to win; I did it, it’s amazing.”
Lee’s award came from an unprecedented $10 million purse.
“We are moving in the right direction,” he told me. “I think it will be better and better from here. It is a very big amount, and I feel very proud to be the first winner of such an amount, I think. It will get better for us.”
Harigae hit his best with 72 strokes in a major tournament and a check of just over $1 million.
Although he was aware he had no chance of winning the last holes, Harigai said he was nervous knowing that a million dollar prize was at stake, an amount that exceeds any winner in most LPGA Tours competitions.
“I’m not going to lie, I’ve had stomach pains in the last two openings,” Harigai said. “I was very nervous, but focused on one shot at a time, hitting hard and getting good shots.”
South Korea’s Hye Jin Choi was the only one of only two players to break a tie, scoring 70 and 7 under par and finishing third.
South Korea’s Jin Young-koo, ranked number one in the world, came fourth with 71 strokes, six strokes below par, and seven strokes over first. New Zealander Lydia Koe finished 72 strokes 5 under par.
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