OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Aussie phenom Minjee Lee’s days as an amateur are nearing an end, but she would like to make another large impression before turning pro.
Lee, 18, the world’s No. 1 amateur, will tee it up in Thursday’s start of the International Crown with Hall of Famer Karrie Webb as her partner in fourballs. Lee is the only amateur in the event, qualifying by virtue of being one of the four highest-ranked Australians in the world. She is, in fact, No. 73, which makes her the second-highest-ranked Australian behind Webb.
Webb chose to guide Lee around in the first round of this big event.
“Minjee is ready to play out here full time,” Webb said. “Out of the three of us, Minjee knows me the best. I felt that to ease her into the competition, it was probably best that she play with me. I've gotten to know her over the last few years as part of my series back in Australia. So, for me, it's a pretty cool experience, too, that a couple of years ago she was coming over to stay with me at the U.S. Open and now she's ready for the world stage. So it will be a fun day.”
Lee says she will turn pro in the fall and try to gain LPGA membership through Q-School. She won the U.S. Girls’ Junior when she was 12. She won her first professional event this year, claiming the Victorian Open on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf tour. She also made a run at winning a Ladies European Tour event earlier this year, dueling down the stretch with Cheyenne Woods before Woods won the Australian Ladies Masters.