Minjee Lee celebrates winning the BMW Ladies Championship.
Minjee Lee's victory at the BMW Ladies Championship catapulted her back into the world's top five. Image by AP PHOTO
  • golf

Minjee Lee returns to the world’s top five

Darren Walton October 24, 2023

Minjee Lee has returned to the world’s top five and has more milestones in sight following her second win from her past three LPGA Tour starts.

Lee surged from seventh to world No.4 in the standings released on Tuesday after holding her nerve to win a thrilling, high-quality sudden-death playoff at the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea.

Up to as high as No.2 and within striking distance of world No.1 following her stellar major-winning 2022 campaign, Lee slumped to 13th in the rankings less than two months ago.

Now the West Australian is the hottest player on the planet, with a victory at the Kroger Queen City Championship in Cincinnati four starts ago opening the floodgates for the ball-striking queen.

Lee followed up that victory with a runner-up showing on the Korea Tour and a tie for 13th at the Buick LPGA Shanghai before joining Celine Boutier, Lilia Vu, Jin Young Ko and Ruoning Yin as a multiple winner in 2023.

But still more landmark feats appear in store for the 27-year-old as the race to season-ending championship glory intensifies.

With four events remaining, Lee has soared to sixth in the season-long standings and seems certain to break into the top 10 on the list of all-time prize money winners in women’s golf.

With Sunday’s triumph, which completed an unprecedented brother-sister double after her sibling Min Woo Lee won the Macau Open the previous week, the Perth prodigy sent her career on-course earnings to $US13,765,643. ($A21.72 million).

She sits 11th on the all-time money list, just $US85,312 behind the 10th-placed Lexi Thompson.

After making the cut in all 17 events she’s contested this season, Lee could surpass Thompson at this week’s inaugural Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur, where the total purse is $US3 million.

If she plays in Malaysia, Lee will tee off in the best headspace of her nine-year professional career as she strives to build an everlasting legacy for the future generations of women’s golf.

“I actually have a really great (life) balance now because I know what I like and the routine that I do at the golf course which works for me and my body,” she said.

“So I don’t just go out to the golf course to hit a hundred putts or do practice that is not worthy of time.

“In that aspect, I’m much better at managing my time and my routine.

“But in terms of the person that I want to be, I’ve always had this motto; I want to leave the LPGA Tour or the game of golf better than I found it, so that is my goal after I retire.

“If it is on a golf course or how I am as a role model on TV, or if I’m doing clinics or anything that I can do to give back to Australian golf or LPGA girls’ golf or any junior who comes out to watch us, I’m going to try and do that.”