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.