Minjee added the Australian Amateur title
at last to her trophy case in 2013. After two near misses,
she cruised to a 6 & 5 win in the final over Australian
Jenny Lee. The next week, she contended at the New South Wales
Open, a professional event. Tied for the lead going into the
final round, she ended up third, her best finish yet in a
pro event. Only the 2011 champion, Caroline Hedwall, and the
defending champ, Lydia Ko, finished ahead of her. In her next
event, the Volvik RACV Australian Ladies Masters, she finished
tied for 16th.
Lee kept racking up wins in amateur golf
throughout 2013. Among her triumphs were wins at the Western
Australia Amateur Championship, the Rene Erichson Salver and
the Australian Girls Amateur Championship. She also reached
the round of 16 at the US Women's Amateur, and teamed with
Su Hyun Oh to help Australia capture the Queen Sirikit Cup.
She finished the 2013 season the 4th ranked women amateur
in the world.
In 2014, Minjee took another quantum leap
forward in her game. She started the year by repeating as
the Australian Women's Amateur champion. She then played several
professional events, excelling in all of them. At the New
South Wales Open in late January, she finished tied for 5th.
At the RACV Australian Ladies Masters, however, she was brilliant,
contending the entire week and coming up just short to Cheyenne
Woods, finishing second - her best ever professional result.
The next week, she again found herself in the final group
on Sunday, this time at the Austrlian Women's Open, her first
LPGA event. Tied with Chella Choi going into the final day,
she managed to stay atop the leaderboard until the tough conditions
finally wore her down with a few holes to play. She wound
up tied for 11th.
Minjee would not have long to wait to avenge
that loss, however. In her next pro event, the ALPG's Victorian
Open, Lee zoomed to a three shot lead after three rounds,
with fellow am Oh in third. But Minjee would not be denied
this time: on the final day she shot a scintillating six under
par 68 to crush the field by six for her first pro win. Several
thousand fans followed her the entire day, and Lee has become
a big story down under. Her win also elevated her to the #1
spot in women's amateur golf.
Lee plans to stay amateur until the end of
2014, then try out for LPGA Qualifying. Chances are she will
be making a lot of noise before then!