Australian Minjee Lee fired a final round of six-under-par 67 at 13thBeach Golf Links on Sunday to win the Women’s Oates Vic Open, the first tournament of the year on the Ladies European Tour.
The 21-year-old from Perth birdied the par-5 18th on the Beach Course in front of huge crowds for a total of 279, 13-under-par, five better than 19-year-old rookie Karis Davidson, who closed with a 71. The Scottish-born Queenslander was delighted to finish second in her first tournament as a professional. Another Australian,
Hannah Green, bogeyed the last to slip into joint third place with England’s Georgia Hall.
“I was a little bit nervous out there, coming down the stretch, but I think I put that pressure on myself, so it’s nice to come out with a win,” said Lee, who claimed the Oates Vic Open for a second time, having previously won in 2014 as an amateur, aged 17.
This was her fourth win as a professional, following three wins on the LPGA from 2015-2016 and she added: “I don’t think I’ve won at home since the Vic Open so it’s really nice to win in Australia again.”
The world number 20 began the final round with a one stroke lead over Davidson, but she was four-under through seven holes and had moved four strokes clear with a birdie and an eagle on the fourth and fifth holes. From that point on, she never gave the other players a chance. She and Davidson both birdied the short seventh and although Lee dropped a shot at the par-4 eighth, but she put on a clinical display of controlled ball-striking on the back nine, picking up birdies on the 14th, 15th and 18th holes in beautiful, sunny conditions.
Her mother and brother Min Woo, who was playing in the men’s Oates Vic Open, running on the same course concurrently, were both there to celebrate with her.
She said afterwards: “I won this tournament as an amateur and its great to come back and do it as a pro. Twice is a charm! Obviously playing with the men is a different concept and its great. Look how many people are out here. I love coming back here and I will definitely try to get back next year. Its great with all the people walking up the fairways as well.”
The Oates Vic Open champion Lee will travel to Canberra on Monday for the newly introduced ActewAGL Canberra Classic, being played at Royal Canberra Golf Club from Friday, which will be the second of four tournaments co-sanctioned by the LET and ALPG Tours.
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