14 Sep 2020 | Professional golf |
Aussies shine at dramatic ANA
by Mark Hayes
There wasn’t an Australian winner, but a flush of Southern Cross flags was a feature of a dramatic ANA Inspiration in California today.
Mirim Lee won a three-woman playoff to claim the second major championship of the LPGA Tour season, a birdie on the first extra hole enough.
Remarkably, Lee had chipped in for eagle minutes earlier just to make the decider with Brooke Henderson and Nelly Korda at 15 under.
Even more extraordinary was that the 29-year-old Korean chipped in three times during her final round, the other two for birdies and also from improbable positions on the sixth and 16th holes.
And while they will be the lasting memories from this rescheduled major, it was another week to remembers for the Australian contingent.
World No.5 Minjee Lee, of Perth, rocketed up the leaderboard with a closing five-under-par 67 to share seventh with three others at nine under.
Although she’s yet to win a major, Lee now has five top-10 finishes and another five in the top 15, still at age 24.
Among those at -9 was veteran Sunshine Coaster Katherine Kirk, who closed with a 73 in the final group to record her best finish at Rancho Mirage and her sixth career major top-10 result.
But arguably even a more notable result came from Gabi Ruffels, the amateur Victorian who was as high as sixth place late in the final stages before two late bogeys.
Ruffels, soon to enter her final year of studies at nearby USC, stamped herself as a player to watch should she turn professional, playing all four rounds under par to share 15th at seven under.
She was, coincidentally, beaten to the low amateur prize on the last putt by Rose Zhang, her conqueror at last month’s US Women’s Amateur.
Hannah Green closed with a flat 76 to finish five over, while Su Oh had earlier missed the cut.
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