16 Jun 2022 | Professional golf |

Aussies On Tour: Minjee Lee back on deck

by PGA of Australia

Minjee Lee autograph image
Minjee Lee has her sights on a world No. 1 ranking. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

The after-effects of her US Open triumph lingered with Minjee Lee for a week but she has now set her sights on further glory, starting with this week’s Meijer LPGA Classic in Michigan.

Victorious in two of her past three starts, Lee and the entire women’s game is in the centre of the most important stage of the season with three more major championships to be decided in the next eight weeks.

Twelve months ago, Lee was faced with regular questions about when her major breakthrough would finally come but in a stark warning to those seeking to stand in her way, the 26-year-old says she is happy, fit and hitting the ball better than ever.

The richest prize purse in women’s golf history has catapulted Lee to No.1 on the Race to the CME Globe but Lee revealed that she was in need of some downtime in Dallas with brother Min Woo and coach Ritchie Smith before setting her eyes on further tournament success.

“You kind of come crashing after that adrenaline high,” Lee admitted.

“I had two days off and felt like I never really got off that until the end of the week.

“I had a really good week off last week. My coach and brother came into town and we got to hang out and do a little bit of training as well.

“I feel like it’s been a really quick turnaround, but here we are now.” Just the sixth Australian to become a multiple major champion, Lee’s appetite for golf’s showpiece events continues to grow.

Her confidence is at a career-high, a change to her putting grip has delivered a stroke she can trust and an increase in distance off the tee has played further to her greatest strength, iron play that is No.1 in virtually every statistical category.

“I haven’t quite reached all my goals yet, so I’m not going to ease off on my training or anything. I’m still going to work extra hard,” Lee vowed.

“I think winning the US Open has been great and it’s really cool, but I still have a few things that I want to take off my list.

“I put so many hours just to put myself in those kinds of situations, so it feels like it’s in a good place right now.

“I still feel like I have a few things that I want to sharpen up.

“I’m still very motivated to get better.”

The major focus this week is the seven Aussies teeing it up at the US Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts where Minjee’s younger brother Min Woo makes his US Open debut.

Richard Green will be seeking a second straight Legends Tour victory at the Farmfoods European Legends Links Championship and there are five Aussies in action at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Wichita Open.

After a strong performance across the board last week there are seven Australians hoping to advance their standings on the Epson Tour’s Ascensus Race for the Card at the Ann Arbor’s Road to the LPGA.

Grace Kim is currently the highest-placed Aussie on the moneylist in sixth spot followed by Sarah Jane Smith (10th), Robyn Choi (14th) and Gabi Ruffels (16th), the top 10 at season’s end to earn a LPGA Tour card the following year. Round 1 tee times AEST

US Open The Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts Round 1 tee times AEST 9.29pm Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Max Homa 10.02pm* Marc Leishman, Keegan Bradley, Aaron Wise 2.30am* Jed Morgan, Taylor Montgomery, Sean Crocker 3.25am Min Woo Lee, Joohyung Kim, Seamus Power 3.25am* Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka, Scottie Scheffler 3.58am Danny Lee, Keita Nakajima (a), Nick Taylor 4.09am* Lucas Herbert, Jason Kokrak, Harris English 4.20am Ryan Fox, Richard Bland, Rikuya Hoshino 4.31am Todd Sinnott, Jonas Blixt, Bo Hoag Defending champion: Jon Rahm Past Aussie winners: David Graham (1981), Geoff Ogilvy (2006) Top Aussie prediction: Lucas Herbert TV times: Live 9.28pm-9am Friday; Live 9.39pm-9am Saturday; Live 12am-10am Sunday; Live 10.30pm-10am Monday on Fox Sports 503 LPGA Tour Meijer LPGA Classic Blythefield Country Club, Belmont, Michigan 9.59pm* Minjee Lee, Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson 10.10pm* Hannah Green, Jessica Korda, Lilia Vu 10.43pm Sarah Kemp, Sophia Schubert, Marissa Steen 11.05pm Katherine Kirk, Sarah Jane Smith, Rachel Rohanna 2.37am Su Oh, Pornanong Phatlum, Angel Yin 2.48am* Stephanie Kyriacou, Linnea Johansson, Cheyenne Knight Defending champion: Nelly Korda Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Hannah Green TV times: Live 6am-8am Friday on Fox Sports 505; Live from 5am Saturday on Fox Sports +; 3pm Sunday on Fox Sports +; 11am Monday on Fox Sports +. Korn Ferry Tour Wichita Open Crestview Country Club, Wichita, Kansas 9.55pm Rhein Gibson, Jamie Lovemark, Patrick Fishburn 10.26pm Aaron Baddeley, Roberto Díaz, Josh Teater 10.26pm* Harrison Endycott, Kyle Reifers, Michael Kim 12.01am* Harry Hillier, Norman Xiong, Jake Hendrix 4.02am Brett Drewitt, Mark Anderson, Vincent Norrman 4.55am Ryan Ruffels, Nick Voke, Garett Reband Defending champion: Harry Hall (2020) Past Aussie winners: Jeff Woodland (1992), Bradley Hughes (2004), Mathew Goggin (2011) Top Aussie prediction: Harrison Endycott. Challenge Tour Kaskáda Golf Challenge Kaskáda Golf Resort, Brno, Czech Republic 4.50pm Deyen Lawson, Damien Perrier, Nathan Kimsey 5.10pm Daniel Hillier, Jens Dantorp, Dave Coupland 5.10pm* Jarryd Felton, Dominic Foos, Gordan Brixi 5.20pm* Dimitrios Papadatos, Edoardo Raffaele Lipparelli, Mikael Lundberg Defending champion: Marcel Schneider Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Dimitrios Papadatos PGA TOUR Canada ATB Classic Edmonton Petroleum G&CC, Edmonton, Alberta 11.40pm* Danny List, Graham McAree, Joe Highsmith 12.30am* Cameron John, Cooper Musselman, Steven Setterstrom 5.50am Will Barnett, David Sanders, Tony Gil Defending champion: Hayden Buckley (2019) Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Cameron John EPSON Tour Ann Arbor’s Road to the LPGA Travis Pointe Country Club, Ann Arbor, Michigan 10.03pm* Karis Davidson, Julienne Soo, Britney Yada 10.14pm Amelia Garvey, Gigi Stoll, Bailey Tardy 10.25pm Hira Naveed, Celine Borge, Laura Restrepo 10.36pm* Robyn Choi, Natalie Srinivasan, Teresa Toscano 10.47pm* Grace Kim, Yan Liu, Xiaowen Yin 4.02am* Gabriela Ruffels, Jaravee Boonchant, Samantha Wagner 4.46pm* Soo Jin Lee, Molly Skapik, Laura Wearn Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Robyn Choi Legends Tour Farmfoods European Legends Links Championship Trevose G&CC, Padstow, England Australasians in the field: Michael Campbell, Richard Green, Michael Long Defending champion: Chris Williams Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Richard Green Ladies European Tour Aramco Team Series – London Centurion Club, London Aussies in the field: Whitney Hillier Defending champion: Marianne Skarpnord Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Whitney Hillier TV times: Live 11pm-3am Thursday; Live 10pm-2am Friday on Fox Sports 505; Live from 11pm Saturday on Fox Sports +; 9am Monday on Fox Sports +.

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