PAJU, South Korea - Australian golfer Minjee Lee won her 10th LPGA title on Sunday, securing her first-ever victory in South Korea, the land of her parents' birth.
According to a new release by Yonhap News Agency, Lee defeated Korean American golfer Alison Lee in a playoff to claim the BMW Ladies Championship at Seowon Valley Country Club in Paju, northwest of Seoul.
Minjee Lee led Alison Lee by two strokes with just two holes remaining, but the latter managed birdies on the 17th and 18th holes to tie the score at 16-under 272, sending the match into a playoff. Minjee Lee sank her birdie putt on the first playoff hole at the 18th after Alison missed her attempt from about eight feet away.
The win was particularly significant for Minjee Lee, who was born in Perth to Korean parents. "Out of all the places, Korea was always at the top of my list because my parents are Korean and I have a really deep heritage to Korea," she said. The victory was witnessed by her extended family and friends, making it "extra special" for the 27-year-old.
The match saw both players in a closely fought contest, especially in the final round. Minjee Lee shared the 54-hole lead with Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa at 12-under, with Alison Lee one stroke behind. The final holes saw several turns of fate for both players. Alison Lee briefly took the lead, but Minjee fought back, leading by two strokes before Alison's birdies on the final two holes forced the playoff.
This is Minjee Lee's second win of the season and she becomes the fifth player in 2023 to claim multiple LPGA titles. She joins Celine Boutier of France, Lilia Vu of the United States, Ko Jin-young of South Korea, and Yin Ruoning of China in this achievement. The victory comes with a prize of US$330,000.
The BMW Ladies Championship, initiated in 2019, has also needed playoffs to determine winners in 2019 and 2021, continuing the tradition of closely fought contests.