Add Minjee Lee to that seemingly endless list of remarkable young talent in women’s golf.
The 19-year-old from Australia charged from five strokes back Saturday to win the LPGA’s Lotte Championship in Hawaii by one stroke over In Gee Chun—who now has three seconds and a third in four starts this year—and Katie Burnett, who was looking for her first win in 60 tries.
And Lee did it in style, closing with a 64, with a 30 on the back nine, for a 16-under-par 272 total. It was Lee’s second LPGA victory in 11 months and made her only the fifth player with multiple LPGA victories before her 20th birthday, joining Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson, Marlene Hagge and Sandra Haynie.
“Yesterday I spoke to my coach and he was like, ‘You’re only five back. Just shoot eight under and you’ll be fine,’” said Lee, the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior champ.
And that’s exactly what she did, highlighting her round with a 35-yard hole out for eagle on No. 13 followed by two birdies that moved her into a tie with Burnett.
“After I went eagle-birdie-birdie, I think the second birdie I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to be really close,’ ” Lee said with the simplicity of a teenager. A birdie on No. 17 gave her the lead for good.
Looks like Ko, Thompson and the others have yet another fresh face to deal with.