US Women’s Open champ Minjee Lee says her record $1.8 million payout is ‘big step’ forward

US Women’s Open champ Minjee Lee says her record $1.8 million payout is ‘big step’ forward
Ryan General
June 10, 2022
Minjee Lee’s recent win at the U.S. Women’s Open in North Carolina has elevated her ranking to No. 3 in the world.
The updated Women’s World Golf Rankings show the Korean Australian golf player jumping a notch over New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, who has been relegated to the fourth spot.
Lee is currently in her highest ranking in almost three years after holding the No. 2 position in 2019.
The 26-year-old received an unprecedented $1.8 million prize after closing a four-shot victory to win the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines on Sunday.
While prize purses for women in golf continue to lag behind those of the men, Lee considers her winnings a “big step” forward.
“We’re aiming for higher and higher each time,” Lee told CNN. “For the USGA and the US Open to step up and start that, it’s a big step in the right direction. It’s a great thing for the women’s game and the LPGA.”
Lee won her second major title by finishing at 13-under 271, which gave her a comfortable distance from opponent Mina Harigae.
“I was nervous as hell,” Lee said. “But it was pretty cool. Walking down that 18th hole … looking at all the crowd, looking at the finish line — it was just a really special moment.”
With two of women’s golf’s five major championship trophies now under her belt, the golfing star is now setting her sights on winning the next three, starting with the Women’s PGA Championship at Congressional in Maryland from June 23-26. 
“I definitely want to win the other three majors,” Lee said. “I’m not sure when that is going to be but hopefully I can make it happen soon. We have three left in our season so hopefully, I can have a good run there.”
She will defend her Evian Championship in France from July 21-24 and compete in the Women’s British Open at Muirfield in Scotland from Aug. 4-7.
“Having won Evian, I have a little bit more motivation to win every other major because my ultimate goal is to be in the Hall of Fame,” she said. “It’s really been on the back of my mind for quite a long time and just to be able to be called a major champion gives me a really great feeling.
“It really was a monkey off my back and it does let me play with a little bit more freedom because before I felt ‘oh, am I ever going to win a major? But then I won and it just gave me a little bit more of that reassurance that I could.”
South Korea’s Jin Young Ko, who currently ranks No.1 in the world, is also set to participate in the upcoming major events this year.
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