The LPGA headed to Hawaii for the Lotte Championship this week and the star-studded field went low at the Ko Olina Golf Club. Minjee Lee picked up her second LPGA victory after coming back from a five-shot deficit.
Australian steals the show
Minjee Lee headed into the final round of the LPGA Lotte Championship five shots behind Katie Burnett. Lee started her day with a birdie on the par five opening hole. She continued her form to par her next six holes to stay at nine-under par. The Australian birdied the eighth hole to move her to double digits in the negatives. Minjee Lee transitioned into the back nine without a bogey as she was positioned close behind the leading pack.
The teenager kept her momentum rolling with a birdie on the 11th. Two holes later, Minjee Lee sat short of the green with a tight lie for her third shot on the par five, 13th. But, Lee’s golf ball found the cup for her sixth eagle of the season. The Aussie backed up her eagle with a birdie on the following hole to grab a share of the lead at 14-under par. With a string of players hovering near the top of the leaderboard, Lee would need a strong closing four holes if she wanted to see herself lifting the trophy in the moments to come.
The world number 17 earned her second straight birdie as she curved a putt into the 15th hole to regain the share of the lead and move to 15-under par with three holes left of her Lotte Championship campaign. Minjee Lee was not finished with her under-par golf. A birdie on the par four 17th put her atop the leaderboard while she headed to play her 72nd hole of the week. Lee executed a brilliant up and down for par to conclude her exquisite round of 64. Katie Burnett and In Gee Chun failed to force a playoff after they both missed birdie putts on the final hole to secure Minjee Lee's second LPGA victory.
Henderon, Thompson amongst top ten
Minjee Lee was not the only golfer who gained rewards on the final day of the Lotte Championship. Although the top ten did not get their name added to a list of victors in Hawaii or receive a trophy, the golfers who performed well this week pocketed a large amount of prize money, ranking points, and will rise in the Race To CME Globe. Katie Burnett and In Gee Chun found themselves tied for second after a week to remember at the Ko Olina Golf Club. Brooke Henderson finished her seventh consecutive tournament in the top ten as she is in fine form while ranked sixth in the world. Another in-form golfer, Lexi Thompson, bounced back from a disappointing first round to finish in a tie for tenth to cap off the top ten. Last year’s champion, Sei Young Kim, finished in a tie for seventh with a final score of 11-under par and Shanshan Feng put together a streaky four-under par round to move into her second top ten of the year.
Next LPGA stop
The LPGA heads to the Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco, California for the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. Lydia Ko will attempt to defend her title for the second straight year after winning the trophy in 2014 and 2015. Round one action commences on Thursday as an elite field will be present with the top five worldwide golfers in attendance.