Aussie amateur Minjee Lee has been knocking on the door and she has finally done it! She has won her first women’s professional golf tournament, the Oates Victorian Open. The 17-year old current Australian amateur champion fired a final round of six-under-par 68 on the Beach course at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links to finish at the top of the leaderboard at 16-under-par and streak the field by six shots.
Lee got off to a nervous start with a bogey, birdie, and then another bogey. The large gallery following the last group unsettled the newest teen phenom on the women’s golf scene for the first few holes. However, after the 4th hole Lee settled into her round and started playing well and making birdies.
She birdied the 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th hole to take a commanding five shot lead into the back nine. Another two birdies 11th and 12th made the final six holes relatively stress free.
Lee was thrilled with her first professional win, “It feels unbelievable, it hasn’t really sunk in yet, I’m pretty happy and just stoke that I have won.”
Asked when she thought she had it in the bag, “I saw the leaderboard after 15, and I was like, I just have to finish nicely and I’ll be OK.”
The win doesn’t change her plans for the year, but it certainly has given her confidence that she can compete with the pros. It won’t be long before Minjee Lee takes her place alongside three other teens, American Lexi Thompson, Englishwoman Charley Hull, and New Zealander Lydia Ko, talented young athletes poised to challenge the top of the board in an increasingly internationalized sport.
The Top of the Vic Open Board
Outright second at the Vic Open was Scotland’s Vikki Laing, who came from nowhere at the halfway point to fire rounds of 67 and 66 to finish at 10-under-par. As Lee is an amateur Laing will take home the cheque for AU$22,500. Outright third was Sarah Jane Smith (73) on eight-under-par.
Sarah Kemp (68) and another amateur from Victoria Su Oh (72) shared fourth position at seven-under-par. A further shot back was American Hannah Jun (69) and ACT’s Nikki Campbell (71). Victorian Lindsey Wright (70) moved up into the top 10 with a final round of 70 to finish at three-under-par. NSW Emma De Groot also shot 70 to finish a further shot back and ninth. Rounding out the top 10 was WA’s Jessica Speechley (70).