Australia’s Lee wins LA Open

Australia’s Minjee Lee could rise to world number 2 from her current fourth spot. (Reuters pic) 

NORTH CAROLINA: Australian Minjee Lee claimed her first victory of the season at the LPGA’s LA Open in California on Sunday, finishing four strokes ahead of South Korean Kim Sei-young at Wilshire Country Club.

Lee, who has two runner-up finishes this season and could rise to number two in the world from her current fourth spot, carded a closing 68, punctuating her performance by ramming home a 12-foot birdie putt at the last to finish at 14-under-par 270.

The 22-year-old earned US$225,000 for her fifth career LPGA victory, taking her to second on this year’s money list and the Tour’s season-long points Race to the CME Globe.

Only three Australians have more career wins – Karrie Webb (41), Jan Stephenson (16) and Rachel Hetherington (eight).

“The first half of the year I’ve been playing pretty solid. I felt it was close so I feel pretty good with this one,” said Lee.

World number one Ko Jin-young (69), who also leads the money and points standings, finished tied for fifth on eight-under 276.