SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. — Minjee Lee of Australia won the U.S. Women’s Open by 4 strokes over Mina Harigae at Pine Needles on Sunday to earn $1.8 million, the most important payout within the history of girls’s golf.
Lee closed Sunday’s final round with an even-par 71 to complete at 13-under 271 for the tournament after having flirted with the tournament record of 16 under set by the American Juli Inkster in 1999 at Old Waverly Golf Club in Mississippi.
“I mean, I’m speechless,” Lee said. “I can’t consider it immediately. No, it’s just super, super special and just an excellent honor. It’s been my dream since I used to be somewhat girl. It’s the one which I all the time desired to win on; now I’ve done it, and just feels amazing.”
Lee’s winnings got here from a record $10 million purse.
“We’re only moving in the best direction,” Lee said. “I feel it’s only going to recuperate and higher from here. It’s such a big sum, and I’m really honored to be the primary winner I suppose of this sum. We’re only going to recuperate and higher.”
Harigae shot a 72 for her best finish in a serious tournament and earned a check of barely greater than $1 million.
Although she knew she had no probability to win down the stretch, Harigae said it was still stressful knowing that $1 million — a bigger payout than what the winner makes at most L.P.G.A. Tour events — was at stake.
“I’m not going to lie, my stomach hurt the last couple holes coming down the stretch,” Harigae, 32, said. “I used to be really stressed, but I used to be really just specializing in one shot at a time, making solid contact, and just hitting good putts.”
South Korea’s Hye-Jin Choi was one in all only two players to interrupt par Sunday, carding a 70 to complete third at 7 under.
South Korea’s Jin Young Ko, No. 1 in the ladies’s golf rankings, finished fourth at 6 under, seven shots back of the lead after a 71. Lydia Ko was at 5 under after a 72.
Ingrid Lindblad, the Louisiana State University player from Sweden, was the low amateur at 1 under, tying for eleventh after a 76.
Lee, 26, was never challenged on a course that played significantly tougher on Sunday than it did the previous three days. She opened with rounds of 67, 66 and 67.
Lee became the sixth straight international player to win the U.S. Women’s Open and the primary from Australia since her mentor, Karrie Webb, won in 2001. It was her second profession victory at a serious championship after winning the Evian Championship last July. Her previous best finish on the U.S. Open was a tie for eleventh in 2017.
Lee, who entered the week ranked No. 4, has won eight LPGA Tour events and have become the primary repeat winner this 12 months following her victory on the Founders Cup three weeks ago in Recent Jersey.
Lee entered the ultimate round with a three-stroke lead over Harigae and had said after the third round that her goal was to proceed to remain aggressive and make birdies.
She lived up those goals early, birdieing the primary two holes to maneuver to fifteen under and take a five-stroke lead over Harigae.
She stumbled a bit with bogeys on the fifth and seventh holes, but she was still capable of make the turn at even-par 35 and with a four-stroke cushion when Harigae also bogeyed the seventh. The lead increased to 5 strokes after Harigae bogeyed the par-4 eleventh hole, all but sealing Lee’s win.
Lee then knocked in a bending 9-foot birdie putt on No. 12 to push the result in six, prompting her to pump her arm in celebration. She appeared in distance of Inkster’s record when she got to fifteen under after a birdie on the par-5 fifteenth hole, but closed with two bogeys.
Harigae didn’t make her first birdie until the fifteenth hole.
Nelly Korda closed with a 73 on Sunday to tie for eighth in her first tournament since undergoing surgery to treat a blood clot in her left arm.
“The primary week back you’ve rust, right, so that you don’t really expect much out of your game,” said Korda, the world’s No. 2 player. “You don’t know where your game is at. Knowing that I can play on a extremely tough golf course at a serious and even form of be in contention is certainly a positive.”