28 Jul 2022 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Lee eyeing off major award

by Australian Golf Media

Minjee Lee.

By Tony Webeck

World No.2 Minjee Lee is within reach of another major award as the women’s game moves to the links of Scotland for this week’s Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open.

As the DP World Tour extends its stay in St Andrews for the Hero Open, the LPGA and Ladies European Tour will tee it up 2.5 hours away on the west coast where Dundonald Links will play host for the first time since Karrie Webb was runner-up to Lee Mi-hyang in 2017.

It is where Aussie Rebecca Artis triumphed in 2015 and serves as the primary tune-up for next week’s AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield.

After falling away on the weekend of her Amundi Evian Championship defence last week, it is an opportunity for Lee to reset ahead of her bid for a second major championship in the same season.

A four-stroke winner at the US Women’s Open at Pine Needles, Lee was also runner-up at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Those performances are the cornerstone of the 84 points she has accumulated in the Rolex Annika Major Award, players who finish in the top 10 in any of the five major championships earning points toward qualifying for the award.

To win the award at season’s end, a player must also have won at least one of the season’s five major titles with the winner of the Rolex Annika Major Award to be recognised at the Rolex LPGA Awards banquet.

A two-time Greg Norman Medal winner, Lee currently has a 24-point buffer from fellow 2022 major winners Jennifer Kupcho (Chevron Championship), In Gee Chun (KPMG Women’s PGA) and Brooke Henderson (Amundi Evian Championship) and will be one of the first groups out on Thursday evening AEST.

It is a welcome return to links golf for Lee as she moves past her uncharacteristically up-and-down performance at Evian.

“I feel like I made a lot of birdies, but I also had some quite large scores on a few holes and made a few soft bogeys here and there,” Lee admitted.

“(Links golf) is a totally different mindset, really. You kind of assess the golf course when you play your practise rounds.

“I think I still don’t understand it but I don’t think anybody does because it can really give you anything. Obviously the weather is really dependent on how tough like links golf can play.

“The beauty of it is that it’s always different. I don’t know what to expect on the day, so you’ve really got to take it one shot at a time.

“That’s what makes it so great.”

After top-35 finishes at Evian, Hannah Green and Stephanie Kyriacou will hope to transfer last week’s form to the stunning Scottish links while Whitney Hillier can add to her outstanding season on the Ladies European Tour.

Currently eighth on the Order of Merit, Hillier has five top-10s on the LET this season including a runner-up result at the Jabra Ladies Open, a tournament that could have earned her a start in the Evian Championship had she won.

Across on the Scottish east coast Zach Murray returns to the DP World Tour for the first time since the Irish Open at the start of the month in an Australian contingent that is seven strong at the Hero Open.

To be played at the Torrance Course at Fairmont St Andrews, the Aussie representation includes four winners from the 2021/2022 ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia winners: Austin Bautista (NT PGA), Dimitrios Papadatos (Vic Open), Blake Windred (Victorian PGA) and Jarryd Felton (TPS Sydney).

Eight Aussies will contest the Epson Tour’s FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship in Michigan while Cam Davis enters the defence of his Rocket Mortgage Classic title on the back of three straight top-20 finishes on the PGA TOUR.

Round 1 tee times AEST

LPGA Tour Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open Dundonald Links, Ayrshire, Scotland 5.32pm*             Minjee Lee, Georgia Hall, Maja Stark 5.54pm Su Oh, Jessica Karlsson, Becky Morgan 9.20pm Stephanie Kyriacou, Ana Pelaez Trivino, Lilia Vu 10.26pm             Hannah Green, Johanna Gustavsson, Emily Kristine Pedersen 10.48pm             Lydia Ko (NZ), Jennifer Kupcho, Hinako Shibuno 11.10pm             Whitney Hillier, Mina Harigae, Yuka Saso

Defending champion: Ryann O’Toole Past Aussie winners: Ni Top Aussie prediction: Hannah Green TV times: Live Midnight-4am Thursday, Friday on Fox Sports 505; Live 11pm-2.30am Saturday on Fox Sports 503; Live 10.30pm-2.30am Sunday on Fox Sports 505.

PGA TOUR Rocket Mortgage Classic Detroit Golf Club, Detroit, Michigan 8.45pm Aaron Baddeley, Ryan Moore, Jonathan Byrd 8.45pm*             Cameron Percy, James Hahn, Patrick Rodgers 9.07pm*             Geoff Ogilvy, Si Woo Kim, Mackenzie Hughes 9.18pm*             Cam Davis, Tony Finau, Nate Lashley 9.29pm*             Jason Day, Webb Simpson, Rickie Fowler 2.21am Danny Lee (NZ), Sean O’Hair, Hank Lebioda 3.05am Adam Scott, Kevin Kisner, Keegan Bradley 4am      Brett Drewitt, Paul Barjon, Wyatt Worthington II

Defending champion: Cam Davis Past Aussie winners: Cam Davis (2021) Top Aussie prediction: Cam Davis TV times: Live 5am-8am Friday, Saturday; Live 3am-8am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503.

DP World Tour Hero Open Fairmont St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland 4.10pm*             Ryan Fox (NZ), Grant Forrest, Richie Ramsay 5.10pm Zach Murray, Andrew Wilson, Ricardo Santos 5.10pm*             Jake McLeod, Richard Mansell, Jacques Blaauw 5.30pm Austin Bautista, Gavin Green, Christoffer Bring 6pm      Daniel Hillier (NZ), Henric Sturehed, Ben Evans 6pm*    Jarryd FeltonBlake Windred, Jesper Svensson 9.50pm*             Dimitrios Papadatos, Jens Dantorp, Jordan Wrisdale 10.30pm             Scott Hend, Søren Kjeldsen, Nino Bertasio 10.40pm             Josh Geary (NZ), Angel Hidalgo, Matthew Baldwin

Defending champion: Grant Forrest Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Scott Hend TV times: Live 9pm-2am Thursday, Friday on Fox Sports 503; Live 8pm-12.30am Saturday on Fox Sports 505; Live 8pm-12.30am Sunday on Fox Sports 503.

Epson Tour FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship Battle Creek Country Club, Battle Creek, Michigan Australasians in the field: Julianne Alvarez, Robyn Choi, Julienne Soo, Grace Kim, Sarah Jane Smith, Hira Naveed, Gabriela Ruffels, Amelia Garvey, Soo Jin Lee, Emily Mahar

Defending champion: Fernanda Lira Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Grace Kim

PGA TOUR Canada Sothebys International Realty Canada Ontario Open Woodington Lake (Legend Cse), Tottenham, Ontario 10.10pm             Will Barnett, Wil Bateman, Blake Maum 3.50am Cameron John, Thomas Longbella, Brendan MacDougall

Defending champion: Gregory Eason (2019) Past Aussie winners: Don Fardon (1992) Top Aussie prediction: Will Barnett

Legends Tour The JCB Championship JCB Golf & Country Club, Uttoxeter Australasians in the field: Michael Campbell, Richard Green, Peter Fowler, Peter O’Malley, Glenn Joyner, Michael Long

Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Richard Green

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