Minjee Lee has secured one of Australia’s greatest sporting achievements this morning, decisively winning the US Women’s Open in North Carolina and taking home a cool $US1.8 million ($AUD2.5 million) — the largest winner’s prize in women’s golf history.
The 26-year old Perth-born athlete took out her second major title in 12 months with the championship, after a four-shot win over America’s Mina Harigae, ending on 13-under par for the tournament after a 71 final-round.
It confirmed a US Open record, with the lowest 72-hole total.
“I’m speechless, I can’t believe it right now, It’s been my dream since I was a little girl, the one I have always wanted to win,” Lee said.
“With a little bit of nerves, overall I think I did a pretty good job. Now I’ve done it and it just feels amazing.”
Responding to questions about her record prize money, which was just recently doubled by the USGA, Lee said women’s golf is “only going to get better from here”.
“It’s such a large sum and I’m really honoured to be the first winner of it,” she said.
Fellow Australian golfer and younger brother, Min Woo Lee tweeted an emotional response to his sister’s achievement.
“This one hits hard. Tears in my eyes. So so proud. Just a kid from Perth. Two major wins to her name now. Inspiring #USWomensOpen.”
Lee becomes only the third Australian to win the US Women’s Open, after Karrie Webb in 2000 and 2001 and Jan Stephenson in 1983. The victory is set to catapult her to the World No 2 spot and she also becomes just the sixth Australian golfer to have won multiple majors.
Next month, Lee will head into the Women’s British Open in Muirfield as the LPGA Tour’s 2022 scoring average leader. If she takes home that championship, she will replace Korean Jin Young Ko as World No 1.