With a final-round 71, Australian Minjee Lee ran away with the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica, finishing at a championship-record 13-under 271 and earning her second career major championship. She joined Jan Stephenson (1983) and Karrie Webb (2000, 2001) as Australians to win the U.S. Women’s Open, and followed Webb in 2001 as major winners at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club.
With the win, Lee earned $1,800,000, the largest single prize in the history of women’s golf.
“This is pretty special,” said Lee, now an eight-time LPGA Tour winner. “This is the one I’ve always wanted to win since I was a little kid, so it just feels pretty amazing to be able to get it done today. I just can’t believe it.”
Lee started the day with a three-stroke lead over Mina Harigae and quickly took control of the final day, birdieing her first two holes to pull five clear of the field. She faltered with bogeys at 5 and 7, perhaps showing signs of the nerves that come with leading a major championship. But thanks to those early birdies, Lee knew that she had plenty of room to make those mistakes and quickly move on.
“Even with a three-shot lead I never felt comfortable today. I felt like I still needed to play well. I still needed to hold my ground. That’s pretty much what I did,” said Lee, the seventh player to win the U.S. Women’s Open and the U.S. Girls’ Junior. “To start aggressively, I think it was the right move, and then after that I had quite a big shot lead, so I was able to just play my game just to finish.”
Lee led by as many as six strokes on the back nine, with birdies at 12 and 15 coming in just as clutch as par saves at 11 and 14. “I had really good saves, up-and-downs from a lot of the places,” she said. “Then finishing I had a couple birdies and a couple bogeys. I think that was enough to get it done today.” With the win, she is now 4-0 in her LPGA Tour career after holding the solo lead through 54 holes.
Harigae was just unable to capture the same spark that she had shown around Pine Needles the previous three days. Nevertheless, her solo-second finish at -9 is tied for the best finish of her LPGA Tour career. And with the newly elevated $10 million purse, Harigae will still receive more than $1 million, by far the largest pay day of her 13-year LPGA Tour career.
“I wanted to hang in there. It’s a major championship, and anything can happen coming down, but she was just way too solid today,” said Harigae. “She didn’t miss many shots or putts. I think I was just really concentrating on solid contact and hitting fairways and greens and giving myself a shot at second.”
2014 U.S. Women’s Open runner-up Hye-Jin Choi shot a final-round 70 and moved into solo third at -7, followed by Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko in fourth at -6 and former No. 1 Lydia Ko in fifth at -5.