Women's PGA Championship 2022

Minjee targets 'really special' double

LOS ANGELES • With one Major already in the bag this season, Minjee Lee said she is targeting a dream double this year with the Australian among the favourites at this week's Women's PGA Championship in Maryland.

The 26-year-old had her breakthrough Major victory at last year's Evian Championship and captured the US Open earlier this month, which saw her rise to world No. 3.

Perth-born Lee said her victory at the Evian Resort Golf Club in France last year gave her the push she needed to win the big prizes.

"Definitely after Evian, I've got a little less pressure, like a monkey off my back," she said ahead of today's opening round of the Women's PGA Championship.

"Going into the US Open and all the other Majors I think I have a bit more confidence playing."

Lee pocketed a record US$1.8 million (S$2.5 million) winner's cheque after her US Open victory and will be keen to get her hands on the US$1.35 million on offer for the winner at Congressional this week after the overall prize money was doubled to US$9 million.

The bumper purse is part of a broad trend in women's golf, where prize money across the five Majors has risen steadily. With the Women's PGA Championship increase, the total prize for the Majors now stands at US$37.3 million, compared to US$13.75 million for the same events in 2012.

But Lee said she was motivated more by the chance to add to her trophy collection than the money on offer at the tournament.

"Two Majors in one season, that's just overtaken my dreams, so it would be really, really special," said Lee. "I like to embrace the challenge. The harder the golf courses get, the better I play."

The third women's Major of the year is another opportunity for defending champion Nelly Korda to leave her recent health scare further in the rearview mirror.

The 23-year-old American only returned recently from a four-month layoff after discovering a blood clot in her left arm.

She narrowly missed out on victory at last week's Meijer LPGA Classic, in a three-way play-off.

"I gave myself a chance last week," Korda said. "If you told me that when I was laying in the ER, I would have definitely been very happy with that.

"Since I started hitting, it's just been kind of full throttle, and I've been practising pretty much. I'm just happy to be out playing."

She is grouped with Park In-bee and Canada's Brooke Henderson, a winner of the Women's PGA in 2016 who has an excellent record in this Major, posting five top-10 finishes in her seven appearances.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2022, with the headline Minjee targets 'really special' double. Subscribe