Minjee Lee has been knocking on the door and she has finally done it, she has won her first women’s professional golf tournament, the Oates Vic Open.
The current Australian amateur champion fired a final round of six-under-par 68 on the Beach course at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links to finish at the top of the leaderboard at 16-under-par and streak the field by six shots.
Lee, didn’t have it her own way, she got off to a nervous start with a bogey, birdie, bogey start. The large gallery following the last group unsettled the 17-year-old for the first few holes. However, after the 4th hole she settled into her round and started playing well and making birdies.
She birdied the 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th hole to take a commanding five shot lead into the back nine. Another two birdies 11th and 12th made the final six holes relatively stress free.
She was thrilled with her first professional win, “It feels unbelievable, it hasn’t really sunk in yet, I’m pretty happy and just stoked that I have won.”
Asked when she thought she had it in the bag, “I saw the leaderboard after 15, and I was like, I just have to finish nicely and I’ll be OK.”
The win doesn’t change her plans for the year, but it certainly has given her confidence that she can compete with the pros.
Outright second was Scotland’s Vikki Laing, who came from nowhere at the halfway point to fire rounds of 67 and 66 to finish at 10-under-par. As Lee is an amateur Laing will take home the cheque for $22,500. Outright third was Sarah Jane Smith (73) on eight-under-par.
It was a strong Western Australian performance all round, with Jessica Speechley also finishing in the top ten at one-under-par, while Whitney Hillier finioshed in a tie for 19th.
Amateurs Hayley Bettencourt and Hannah Green also had a great week against a profesisonal field, both finishing in the top 40.