Minjee Lee recorded her 10th career victory at the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea in a playoff over Alison Lee. It was a rematch of the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior final, which Minjee happened to win as well.
“I was like, this kind of feels familiar,” said the 27-year-old Aussie.
Minjee became the fifth player this season to win multiple titles when she drained a 6-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole. The American Alison Lee, a former top-ranked amateur, is still waiting on her maiden LPGA victory. Minjee won Cincinnati’s Kroger Queen City Championship in September.
“Out of all the places, Korea was always at the top of my list because my parents are Korean and I have a heritage to Korea,” said Minjee. “This one is special, and especially having all of my family and extended family and friends coming out to cheer for me today, it was really cool to see them on the sidelines when I was walking down. It was great that I was able to win today.”
Minjee earned $330,000 for her victory, giving her $1,552,475 for the season. It’s her second victory in her last three starts. She is now the third player from Australia to reach double digits in tour victories, joining Jan Stephenson (16) and Karrie Webb (41).
A two-time major winner who has now won in each of her last three LPGA seasons, Minjee closed with a 4-under 68 at Seowon Hills at Seowon Valley Country Club to finish at 16 under while Alison, a former UCLA standout, birdied her last two holes in regulation to shoot 67.
“I feel like I’m hitting it so well and I had so many putts this week lip out,” said Alison, “and I can’t stop thinking about all those small mistakes that I potentially made.”
Lydia Ko, playing on a sponsor invite, closed with a third consecutive 69 to finish third, two strokes back. The season has been largely a struggle for Ko, who hadn’t previously cracked the top 10 since February in Thailand.
“I feel like I’ve been moving in the right direction and felt like I was moving in the right direction, but the results weren’t really a good reflection of that,” said Ko, who won the BMW last year. “So at least this week is a confirmation to say, hey, it’s not dead yet.”
American Angel Yin, who won her first LPGA title last week in Shanghai, closed with a 67 to finish fourth.
South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai came into the final round tied with Minjee at 12 under but dropped to a share of 13th after a final-round 74. Buhai did win $10,000 in unofficial money from the tournament for setting a BMW scoring record of 10-under 62 in the first round.