28 Jun 2022 | Professional golf |

Lee within reach of world No.1 ranking

by PGA of Australia

Minjee Lee.

By Tony Webeck

Two-time major champion Minjee Lee is one step closer to becoming the first Australian to top the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

The 26-year-old finished one shot back of KPMG Women’s PGA champion In Gee Chun at Congressional Country Club on Sunday, tied for second with American Lexi Thompson.

A two-time winner this season – including the US Women’s Open earlier this month – Lee’s finish at Congressional pushed her past Nelly Korda into No.2 in the world ranking and less than a point behind world No.1 Jin Young Ko.

Given the women’s world rankings were not introduced until February 2006, Australia’s seven-time major champion Karrie Webb never ascended to the top spot.

The Hall of Famer was second behind Lorena Ochoa at the end of 2007, opening the door for Lee to create a slice of history in the coming months.

The West Australian will not play again until the defence of her Amundi Evian Championship win from July 21-24 but given she has finished top-five in four of the past five major championships concedes she does have a claim to being the best player on the planet.

“I think I’m contending,” Lee laughed when asked of her claims to the No.1 position.

“You know, I still want to be humble, stay humble, but I want to think that I’m hard to beat right now.”

In the history of world golf rankings only three Australians have ever reached the top spot.

Between September 1986 and September 1997 Greg Norman rose to NO.1 on 11 separate occasions totalling 331 weeks, Adam Scott was No.1 for 11 weeks from May 2014 and Jason Day had 51 weeks as the world’s best player between March 2016 and February 2017.

This is not the first time that Lee has moved to within one spot of the top of the rankings.

Lee reached No.2 on the back of her LA Open win in 2019, spending the next five weeks behind Jin Young Ko.

A five-time winner on the LPGA Tour last year, Ko has amassed 127 weeks as No.1 in four separate stints, second only to Ochoa (158) for most weeks as the ranking leader.

There were positive moves also for the other two Australians to finish inside the top 10 at the KPMG Women’s PGA.

Former champion Hannah Green moved up three spots to No.18 by virtue of her fifth-place finish while Stephanie Kyriacou’s best result in a major elevated her 26 spots to No.99 in the world.

Cameron Smith remains Australia’s highest-ranked player on the men’s Official World Golf Ranking, Scottie Scheffler maintaining his handy buffer as No.1.

Smith rose one spot this past week to No.6, Adam Scott (40) and Lucas Hebert (48) also within the top 50.

Top 10 Aussies in Rolex Women’s World Ranking 2            Minjee Lee         8.45 18          Hannah Green   3.66 99          Stephanie Kyriacou         1.18 114        Su Oh    1.06 164        Gabriela Ruffels 0.72 178        Sarah Kemp       0.63 183        Katherine Kirk    0.60 189        Whitney Hillier  0.59 223        Grace Kim           0.51 356        Sarah Jane Smith             0.28

Top 10 Aussies in Official World Golf Ranking 6            Cameron Smith 7.1144 40          Adam Scott        2.6387 48          Lucas Herbert    2.2386 51          Marc Leishman 2.1494 64          Min Woo Lee     1.9558 74          Matt Jones         1.8102 83          Cameron Davis  1.7493 132        Brad Kennedy    1.2259 137        Jason Day           1.1731 195        Jason Scrivener 0.9344

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