Ko not the only kid playing with the pros Down Under
Lost in the commotion over Lydia Ko’s success Down Under to start 2013 has been the success of two other young Australians. One even owns a USGA trophy.
Reigning U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Minjee Lee also has maintained a busy competition schedule (for an amateur) during Australia and New Zealand’s summer golf season. She owes part of that to her victory at the Australian Women’s Amateur on Jan. 20. It’s a title Ko won in 2012 but was unable to defend.
Lee, a 16-year-old from Western Australia, cruised through the match-play bracket at Commonwealth Golf Club in Melbourne. She drew the No. 4 seed after stroke-play qualifying and eventually defeated South Africa’s Jenny Lee in the final, 6 and 5. The Australian a spot in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open – the season-opening event on the LPGA tour.
Lee, who is No. 3 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, made the cut at that event after shooting scores of 70-71. She finished 72-76 and was T-55 on the final leaderboard.
It’s not the only professional event Lee entered. She also played the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters (the Ladies European Tour’s season-opening event in Queensland, Australia) and finished T-16.
The start to the season has been much different for Lee than a year ago. In 2012, she took a three-month break at the beginning of the year because of a broken ankle she sustained in a golf cart accident.
Fellow Austrlian Su-Hyun Oh’s early-year performance also has been notable. Oh, a 16-year-old from Victoria, Australia, shot the lowest round of any competitor at the RACV Ladies Masters. A second-round 8-under 64 helped Oh finish T-2 with Chella Choi and Ariya Jutanugarn.
Oh, the No. 4 amateur in the world, was T-28 at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and T-9 at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open – the event Ko won.
If Oh’s name sounds familiar, it’s likely from her U.S. Women’s Amateur run. She made it to the quarterfinals.