Date: September 15, 2016
Author: Martin Blake

LPGA grind takes Lee to major

The LPGA Tour is a marathon, and Minjee Lee is in grinding mode right now.

The Australian superstar has had another fine season on the world's top women's tour, with a win and more than $US800,000 in prizemoney to show for it, but the season is far from over.

Lee and three other Aussies — Su Oh, Karrie Webb and Sarah Jane Smith — are in France this week for the year's final major, the Evian Championship.

Royal Fremantle's most famous recent export has already played 21 tournaments around the world in 2016 but the LPGA swings to Asia next week where there are another six tournaments, and all the players will have half an eye on the Race to CME Globe standings, the points race that finishes with the Tour Championship in November.

Only the top 72 on the points standings get to play in that event, which carries a $US500,000 bonus for the points winner. Needless to say, it is a powerful lure for the players who have it in them to keep playing week-after-week. Only three players on the tour have completed more events than the Western Australian, and that does not count the fact she represented her country at the Olympic Games.

Lee, 20, the former Australian amateur champion and US girls' junior title-winner, has won tournaments in each of her first two seasons on the LPGA and is ranked 16th in the world. She is also ninth on the Race to CME Globe standings.

She has settled around the top 15 in the world this year, although she has not yet broken into the top 10, and she is still seeking her first major championship. Thus far, her only top-10 was at the Women's British Open last year, where she was ninth.

It is a work in progress.

As for the other Australians, Webb (ranked 43rd on the points list), Oh (52) and Smith (62) are all in with a chance of reaching the tour championship as well.

The hottest players are World No. 1 Lydia Ko, Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn and Canada's Brooke Henderson.

The Evian Championship at Evian Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains begins tonight and live coverage is provided by Fox Sports.