Minjee Lee keeps rivals at bay for China win
BEIJING: Australia’s Minjee Lee beat back stiff competition from rivals to land her third LPGA victory at the Blue Bay tournament on China’s Hainan Island yesterday.
Lee carded a two-under par 70 to win by one stroke at 13-under par, one ahead of Jessica Korda and two ahead of Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn on the par72 course. Lee and Korda shared the leaderboard top spot heading into the final round, but the 20-year-old from Perth edged ahead of the American Sunday, firing a birdie at the first hole.
At the par-three seventh hole a birdie by Lee and a bogey by Korda extended that lead to three and the Australian closed out the tournament with rounds of 65-67-73-70 for a total of 275.
Lee is projected to move up in the Rolex Women’s World Golf rankings after her Blue Bay win. Having pocketed the $315,000 first prize, she has almost $2 million in career earnings since turning professional in 2014.
“I feel like I’ve been playing really solid golf the whole year. I know I won in Hawaii, but getting a win this week, it feels really good. Just really happy,” said Lee on her win. “I’m glad I came out on top but it was a really good fight out there.” Korda can take heart in her performance, carding 67-72-66-71 and a total of 276 for her best finish of 2016, as she prepares for the SIME Darby LPGA in Malaysia where she is defending champion. Jutanugarn posted a final round two-under par 70 to finish third for her 14th top ten finish of the year, including five victories.