Redemption for Minjee Lee—and a birthday gift—at the Volvik Championship
Australia's Minjee Lee likes the LPGA Volvik Championship. In 2017, she finished second behind Shanshan Feng in the tournament. This year, while celebrating her 22nd birthday on Sunday, she was able to take care of unfinished business at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich., and win the event by one stroke over I.K. Kim after shooting a final-round 68.
Heading into the final round, Lee led by two, but her play was anything but defensive. Her ball striking proved reliable as she missed just four fairways and four greens during the final round, and averaged 265.5 yards off the tee. On the greens, she looked like she was trying to make everything. The positive result from that aggressive mindset is that some of those birdie putts fall. The less-than-ideal outcome can be running putts past the hole.
Lee put herself in one such difficult situation when she missed her birdie putt on the 17th hole, and faced a six-foot comebacker. When she missed the par putt coming back and Kim made birdie in the group ahead on the 18th hole, suddenly the pair were tied at 15 under.
Coming down 18, Lee continued to do what she'd been doing all day: Hit the fairway, hit a towering fairway wood over the trees to land on the fringe of the green on the short par 5, then got up and down for birdie and the win.
It was a moment of redemption for Lee, now a four-time LPGA winner, not only for her performance here a year ago, but for her runner-up showing a few weeks earlier, having lost in a playoff to Lydia Ko at the LPGA Mediheal Championship.
It wasn't the only time Lee has been close to winning in 2018. Entering this week, she had played in 10 tour events, and finished in the top 10 in five of them.
"I've been playing pretty solid the whole year, and it's just nice to have a win," said Lee.
The boost of confidence comes at an awful good time with the U.S. Women's Open set to be held this week at Shoal Creek.
"It's is going to be a totally different week, so I'll just try my best and I know I'm hitting it pretty solid and putting it solid, so I think we'll have a great week," said Lee.