Date: February 24, 2019
Author: Martin Blake

Lee beaten by millimetres in Thailand

Millimetres separated Australia’s Minjee Lee from another LPGA Tour victory today in Pattaya, Thailand.

Lee, the world No. 7, had an eagle putt at the par-five 18th hole at Siam Country Club to force a playoff with South Korea’s Amy Yang, after Yang two putted for birdie from the back of the green having walked down the last hole with a one-shot lead.

But the Australian had a chance after her brilliant five iron shot to just inside five metres from the flag.

Lee’s putt trickled down toward the cup and was online. But it stopped a roll or two short and Yang was the champion, for the third time in Thailand.

For the Australian, it was a bittersweet finish. The 22-year-old had shot a 66 having gone into the final round tied for the lead with Yang.

But the Korean was red hot early and quickly out to a two-shot lead before a swing in momentum at the par-four 14th, where Yang missed the green and took bogey while Lee rolled in a birdie putt from four metres.

Suddenly they were tied for the lead at 20-under but the critical blow by Yang was made at the par-three 16th, where from just short of the green in the fringe she nailed a long, curling putt for birdie to regain the lead.

Lee could not wrest it back; in truth, she did very little wrong other than her failure to get the putt to extend the contest beyond the  72nd hole the required distance.

Yang finished 22-under overall, a shot ahead of Lee’s 21-under. Spain’s Carlotta Ciganda was third after a stunning, final-round 63. Queenslander Katherine Kirk was the best of the other Australians in a tie for 19th place.

Lee, the Royal Fremantle member and Australian Olympian, is playing next week in Singapore and her world ranking will likely be at a new career-low.