THE LOCAL: Minjee Lee aims for world top 10

Minjee Lee has set her sights on a world top 10 ranking, although she has a more limited focus this week at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

“My goal, I think, is to win,’’ she said today. “I don’t think anybody comes into a tournament not wanting to win. It would be great if I could do it.’’

Perth’s 21-year-old Olympian has risen a couple of spots to No. 16 in the world – the highest among her countrywomen – after a win in the Oates VicOpen and a second place in the Canberra ALPG tournament where she led by three shots going into the final round.

She is approaching her career-high ranking of No. 12, achieved in April and May 2016 when she was on her way to a two-victory season on the LPGA Tour.

And she will be the most-fancied of local hopes this week at Kooyonga, where she comes into the tournament well-prepped and confident. Lee has gone close in her national Open before, and was tied-third at Royal Adelaide last year, but she needs a big win at home to win the attention that she deserves.

She has been learning to deal with playing at home, which carries its own pressures. “I think pressure-wise,  you put more on yourself because you have such high expectations competing in your home country and it’s your national title.  I think probably the expectation is the pressure.’’

The Royal Fremantle member, who came through the elite systems of Golf WA and Golf Australia, has played four Opens, finishing tied-11th as an amateur in 2014 at Victoria (when she was equal-leader into the final round), tied-seventh in 2015, tied-20th in 2016 and third last year.

“I’d like to get into the top 10 world ranking but I have my process goals,’’ she said.  “That (top 10) is a big goal. That’s a resolved base goal.  I think if you can tick off your process goals, then you can probably make the end goal.  I try not to get ahead of myself, maybe just go one step at a time and just try and tick off the things that I’m working on and trying to get.’’

Minjee Lee
Minjee Lee ahead of the 2018 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open

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Pos.CountryPlayer TotalToday
1 USA N.Korda -17-5
2 KOR J.Ko -15-8
3 TPE W.Hsu -12-4
T4 JPN H.Nomura -11-2
T4 USA A.Yin -11-6
T6 ESP A.Munoz -10-7
T6 CAN A.Sharp -10-4
T8 ENG J.Ewart Shadoff -9-1