While Minjee Lee was running away with the U.S. Women’s Open, there was a battle for second place – and the $1.08 million that would come along with it – taking place behind her.
That battle would ultimately be won by Mina Harigae, who played her final seven holes at 1 under to finish 9 under for the week, which was four shots behind Lee, but two shots clear of third place.
Thanks to presenting sponsor ProMedica, this year’s U.S. Women’s Open carried with it the largest purse in LPGA history at $10 million.
The phrase “life-changing money” was tossed around a lot this week in North Carolina, and that was certainly the case for Harigae, who took home nearly 37% of her career earnings by putting four good rounds together at Pine Needles.
She was asked after the final round whether the thought of all that money crept in as she came down the stretch.
“I'm not going to lie, my stomach hurt the last couple holes coming down,” Harigae said. “I was really stressed out, but I was really just focusing on one shot at a time, making solid contact, and just hitting good putts.”
Harigae became an LPGA member in 2010, and prior to this week had amassed $2,935,167 in her career, which sounds like a lot until you stretch it out over more than 12 years and factor in taxes, caddie fees, swing coaches, travel expenses, etc.
This week produced the highest finish in a major in Harigae’s career and left her with a week she’ll never forget.
“This is definitely top one or two highlights of my career, obviously, just the prize money, but solo second in a major, and that's my best by far,” Harigae said. “Really happy with it.”