27 Sep 2021 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Lee second to rare LPGA Tour feat

by PGA of Australia

Minjee Lee holds the ball aloft after a birdie during the final round in Arkansas.

By Tony Webeck

Minjee Lee has finished second at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship by just one stroke but it took an extraordinary feat to beat her.

With aces in each of her first two rounds at the sixth and 11th holes respectively, Japan’s Nasa Hataoka (67) became just the fifth player in LPGA Tour history to record two hole-in-ones at the same event and the first since 2016.

Those two perfect shots saw her begin the final round level with Lee at 12-under par and she applied the pressure early with birdies at three of her first four holes to edge two strokes clear.

Lee’s bogey at the par-4 fifth saw her fall another shot back and when she bogeyed the par-4 ninth was four shots adrift heading into the back nine.

A birdie at the par-4 10th reduced the deficit again and with Hataoka unable to pull away as the inward nine continued Lee remained within reach.

A birdie at the par-5 14th and a brilliant shot into the par-3 17th enabled the 25-year-old to draw within one with only the par-5 18th left to play. Unfortunately for Aussie golf fans Lee’s birdie putt from 15 feet shaved the edged of the cup, finishing level with Korean Eun-Hee Ji in a share of second at 15-under par with a closing round of 3-under 68.

“I think playing under pressure is where I belong, this is where I excel,” said Lee, who began the week ranked No.9 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

“Hopefully I have a lot more times that it can bring the best out of me.

“There are so many more positives than negatives out of this week.

“I missed a couple birdie opportunities today that I probably should have made.

“All day I was thinking about the missed putts I had and going into the back nine I just wanted to get to 16-under. I got to -15, so I was close but in this situation I still did play well.

“Maybe next time I’ll get on the 18th green in two.”

Su Oh followed up a second round of 5-under 66 with a 4-under 67 to climb into a share of 25th, Sarah Jane Smith matched Oh’s round of 4-under 67 to finish tied for 34th while first round leader Katherine Kirk faded to a 6-under par total and a share of 42nd.

Elsewhere this week Anthony Quayle recorded his best finish on the Japan Golf Tour in almost two years at the Panasonic Open, finishing tied for 11th to lead the Australian contingent.

Set up by a brilliant round of 64 in the second round, Quayle closed with a round of 1-under 71 to finish just outside the top 10, his fourth top-20 result in his past six starts.

Novocastrian Blake Windred moved up three places in the Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca points race with a top-30 finish at the Open de Portugal and Stephen Leaney was the top Aussie at the Champions Tour’s Pure Insurance Championship, finishing tied for 13th at Pebble Beach as Kiwi Steven Alker logged his fifth consecutive top-10 in just five starts on the seniors tour.



Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers, Arkansas

Winner Nasa Hataoka    65-65-67—197  $US345,000

T2          Minjee Lee         67-63-68—198  $178,028

T25        Su Oh    72-66-67—205  $18,541

T25        Lydia Ko              68-70-67—205  $18,541

T34        Sarah Jane Smith             70-69-67—206  $13,091

T42        Katherine Kirk    63-71-73—207  $9,302

MC        Sarah Kemp       69-74—143

Japan Golf Tour

Panasonic Open

Joyo Country Club, Kyoto

Winner Keita Nakajima (a)          69-68-65-68—270           —–

Won in a sudden death playoff

T11        Anthony Quayle              74-64-67-71—276           ¥2.52m

T47        Dylan Perry        74-69-67-76—286           ¥314,000

T53        Todd Sinnott      74-68-70-75—287           ¥257,000

T57        Scott Strange     68-71-74-75—288           ¥238,250

MC        David Bransdon 76-75—151

Challenge Tour

Open de Portugal

Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf Resort, Óbidos, Portugal

Winner Marcel Schneider            68-66-65-70—269           €32,000

T6          Daniel Hillier      69-66-71-70—276           €6,666

T27        Blake Windred  73-65-70-73—281           €1,720

T44        Josh Geary         69-74-72-70—285           €940

T56        Dimitrios Papadatos       75-68-76-68—287           €670

MC        Deyen Lawson   76-71—147

Symetra Tour

Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout

Mystic Creek Golf Club, El Dorado, Arkansas

Winner Kum-Kang Park  77-69-65—211  $US26,250

T28        Robyn Choi        74-74-74—222  $1,524

T58        Soo Jin Lee         74-74-80—228  $656

MC        Stephanie Na     75-77—152

MC        Julienne Soo      77-79—156

MC        Julianne Alvarez              77-80—157

MC        Gabriela Ruffels 76-81—157

Champions Tour

Pure Insurance Championship

Pebble Beach Golf Links & Spyglass Hill, Monterey Peninsula, California

Winner KJ Choi  67-68-68—203 

T5          Steven Alker      71-69-67—207 

T13        Stephen Leaney 69-72-70—211 

T29        Rod Pampling    74-69-71—214 

T34        Stuart Appleby  66-77-72—215 

T38        David McKenzie 71-73-72—216 

T43        John Senden      73-69-75—217

MC       Robert Allenby  77-75—152

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