Minjee Lee has fallen agonisingly short as she took a close look at the world No. 1 ranking in California.
The Australian was within two shots of the lead late on the final day of the LPGA Tour’s Mediheal Championship at Lake Merced Golf Club outside San Francisco, but could not sustain the momentum as she closed out.
Ultimately Lee, 22, finished tied-eighth after finishing with a 72, just three shots out of a playoff at four-under par overall.
The door had been opened for her and others when overnight leader Sei Young Kim made a double bogey and bogey in the opening two holes.
Lee had started six shots back but when she made birdies at the first and fourth holes, both par-fours, she was right in the mix. Another birdie at the par-five 13th, where she hit the green in two and two-putted from long range, put her within two shots of the lead, held by England’s Bronte Law at seven-under.
But a bogey at the par-three 17th, where the pin was cut in a tough right corner, ended the Western Australian’s run. Still she should hold on to the world No. 2 ranking having leapt up to a career-high number after her win in Los Angeles last week.
The Women’s US Open is just a fortnight away.
The three-way playoff to decide the winner between Law, Kim and Jeongeung Lee6 of South Korea went Kim's way when she birdied the 18th for the second time today, two-putting from the front fringe. Both Lee and Law had makeable birdie putts to extend the playoff, but missed, and Kim holed out from a metre to extract her eighth LPGA Tour win.
Meanwhile Minjee Lee's younger brother Min Woo Lee finished tied-14th on the European Tour’s Volvo China Open to continue his push for a tour card for next year.
In the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina, Jason Day finished nicely with a 69 to be tied-24th as the leading Aussie.
On the Japan Tour, Matthew Griffin (tied-third) and Anthony Quayle (tied-fifth) logged top-five finishes in The Crowns tournament.