THE talent has always been obvious and now Aussie teenager Minjee Lee has lived up to the long held promise with a breakthrough LPGA victory.
The 18 year old surged home with a 6-under 65 to claim a weather interrupted 2015 Kingsmill Championship by two strokes at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia, early Tuesday.
It might have taken two days but the final round featured a stunning stretch of an eagle and five birdies in just 10 holes to overtake the field.
Lee, a former world No.1 amateur, has had an up and down start to her professional career, which began just eight months ago with expectations she would be the “next Karrie Webb”.
“I am extremely satisfied. I didn’t really think about the expectation from others because I put enough pressure on myself to perform well out here and this is a great confidence booster moving forward,” the West Australian product said.
“This win is not going to make it easy but it should allow me to just free up a little bit to know I can play well out here and win out here with my natural game.”
Lee is the seventh player in history to win an LPGA event before her 19th birthday and moved up to world No.19 from 59.
But she has a way to go to challenge fellow 18 year old Lydia Ko, the Kiwi world No.1 who already has seven LPGA titles.
“[Ko has] achieved so much at such a young age with multiple wins and being world no.1, that’s a dream come true isn’t it, it’s what we all want to do and it is something for me to aspire to,” Lee said. “It would be great if we could have a rivalry but I have a lot of work still to do.
“The next step for me is becoming a consistent contender on the tour, bringing it in with more top 10s and top fives and hopefully more wins. I have to stay focussed on that process and those goals.”
Karrie Webb was full of praise for her young countrywoman.
“I don’t think anyone is surprised to see Minjee in the winners’ circle,” the seven time major winner told AAP.
“This win will settle her a little bit after an up-and-down start to her rookie season. It is a quality win on a quality course. We have to remember she’s only 18 with hopefully a long and bright future. I look forward to watching it.”
The win guarantees Lee a place in the upcoming Women’s US Open.
Minjee Lee 1st LPGA win: Video