Date: February 11, 2020
Author: Martin Blake @ Royal Adelaide

Minjee Lee aims to reclaim bragging rights


For once, Minjee Lee is having to deal with the notion that she may not the best golfer in her own family.

She celebrated her younger brother’s Min Woo’s triumph in the ISPS Handa Vic Open last Sunday, but only as designated driver for the two winners, Min Woo and Hee Young Park, and noted that her brother was “drinking out of his trophy” when they attended the official tournament party in Barwon Heads in the evening.

Then it was on to Adelaide for the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, where she will play again as this country’s top-ranked competitor as world No. 9.

Her brother has claimed bragging rights, but as Minjee pointed out today, that may be temporary. “He says (for) the year, but until I win again, I guess,” she said.

The Lees are close, which would have been evident as Minjee watched the finish of the Vic Open from beside the 18th green, then performing her little celebratory jiggle before the big hug with her little brother at greenside. He’s been driving her car for a while back in Perth, since she spends most of the year away from home, although now he’s said he might invest in some wheels.

Like so many siblings, they’re also competitive, so it would be no surprise to see Minjee in the mix at Royal Adelaide this week, at a venue where she achieved her best finish in her national Open – tied-third in 2017. She made a withering last-day run that afternoon before falling just short, pushed aside by Hana Jang.

She is desperate to win the national Open, having played every time since she was a 17-year-old amateur in 2014 at Victoria, where she was equal-leader going into the final round before fading to finish tied-11th.

“I mean, yeah, I think it’s as big as a major championship, because it is your home Open,” she said. “It would just be a great honour to be crowned the champion of the Australian Open as an Australian."

Having spoken to the media Lee went off to conduct another MyGolf clinic as part of her ambassadorial role with Australia’s participation program, a task she relishes.

“Yeah, I mean, even from the beginning, once we turned pro, that’s been a very big thing for me, to try and grow the game,” she said. “I’m not sure if I’ve really been able to grow the game while I’ve been playing so far, but I definitely want to do more from now on and try and be a bit more of a, I guess a role model, big sister to the other girls coming up. It’s kind of nice to be in this position.’’