US Open women’s champion Minji Lee reflects on ‘big move’ for women’s golf after historic payout

The Australian claimed the highest payout among women. golf history in Southern Pines, North Carolina to his second major triumph with a record-breaking performance worthy of a $1.8 million prize.

Lee headed into the final day on a wave of unprecedented first three rounds, hitting 67, 66, 67 and breaking Julie Inkster’s 23-year-old 54-hole record with 13 under par 200.

A brilliant start meant that even a parity of 71 in the final round didn’t stop the 26-year-old from breaking the championship record for scoring at 72 holes, passing Inkster, In Ji Chung and Annika Sorenstam by one stroke with her 13-to-271 finish.

Leading American Mina Harigae by six strokes on the 12th hole and finishing by four strokes, her victory seemed like a procession even before the Australian hit the final target, but not Lee.

“I was nervous as hell,” Lee admitted to CNN World Sport. “But it was pretty cool.

“Walking down that 18th hole… looking at the whole crowd, looking at the finish line, it was just a special moment.”

Lee came to victory with a dominant performance in the Southern Pines.

“This is a great item for women’s play”

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

Another reward was an unprecedented prize pool of $1.8 million. That amount alone dwarfs Lee’s winnings for her most profitable season in 2018, when top 10 finishes in the top five of 27 LPGA tournaments netted her more than $1.5 million, according to data from LPGA website.

Runner-up Harige earned the biggest runner-up in women’s golf history, taking home $1.08 million of a record $10 million total prize pool.

Lee hits on the 17th hole.
Although the prize purses for women in the game are still inferior to men’s – John Ram earned $ 2.25 million from a total purse of $ 12.5 million for his triumph at the US Open in June 2021 – Lee sees progress.

“Each time, we aim higher and higher,” Li said. “For the USGA and the US Open to step up and start this is a big step in the right direction.

“This is a great item for the women’s game and the LPGA.”

This week, the world of golf has been dominated by financial issues related to the lucrative inaugural game. Golf Tournament LIV Thursday will start at the Centurion club near London.
Dustin Johnson is leaving the PGA Tour to play in the LIV Golf series and Phil Mickelson is returning to golf to play in the tournament.
The venture, backed by the Saudi Arabian State Investment Fund, is pledging $250 million in total prize money across eight tournaments. Former world number 1 Dustin Johnson announces his retirement from the PGA Tour to take part in this event.

While Lee admitted that she hadn’t followed the story closely, she was aware of the controversy the new event had created.

“I don’t really know too much about it, obviously it was a bit controversial,” Lee said.

“I think it’s just a look at where you are right now in your life,” she added.

role model

The Southern Pines triumph was the second major achievement of Australia’s career, adding to her Evian Championship triumph last year and her eighth LPGA tour win.

But despite the accolades, Lee is focused not only on prize money and trophies, but also on inspiring the next generation of young golfers.

“Hopefully they can see me on TV and I can be a great role model for all the girls and boys around the world to follow their dreams,” Lee said. “Can you do this. 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.”

Her growth to become No. The 3rd golfer in the world was helped by her family, especially Min Woo Lee’s younger brother, himself a professional golfer on the PGA Tour.

Min Woo Lee smiles with her sister Minji Lee during the par-3 competition ahead of the Masters in April.
“It hits hard. Tears on eyes. So proud,” he said. tweeted after his sister’s triumph, which is another example of the “great support” the Lee family has given her since she burst onto the scene with a win at US Girls’ Junior in 2012.

“They were with me every step of the way, and I always received only support from them,” she said.

“If I wanted to train, I could train. If I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t need to do it.