The Korean Ladies Professional Golf (KLPGA) Tour is in the midst of the Lee era.
Lee shot a 1-over-par 73 in the final round of the season’s final major, the Hite Jinro Championship (total prize money of 1.2 billion won), at Blue Heron Golf Club (Par 72) in Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do, on Monday to win with a four-round total of 7-under-par 281.
Lee, who won her first career title at the Lotte Rent-a-Car Women’s Open in April and her second at the Doosan E&C Weave Championship in August, posted her third win of the season.
She is second only to Park Ji-young with three wins this season.
Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Lee was known for her consistent play, but not her explosiveness or field dominance, and this season she has emerged as the top player on the KLPGA Tour with three wins and her first major crown in just six months.
With her $216 million in prize money, Lee widened the gap between herself and second place on the money list ($1.26 billion) and in the points standings.
Lee also closed the gap on the second-place leader, Park Ji-young, in stroke average.
If she can continue this upward trend, she could win four individual titles: prize money, grand prize, most wins, and best stroke average.
Lee also shook off the disappointment of missing the cut for the first time this season at the Daebo Howdy Open last week.
After finishing the third round with a five-stroke lead and seemingly booking the victory, Lee wasted no time in the final round.
The closest she came was four strokes behind Kim Soo-ji, who birdied the second (par-3) hole.
A birdie on No. 3 (par-4) pushed her lead back to five strokes, and a birdie on No. 5 (par-3) and then the eighth (par-4) of the day pushed her lead to eight strokes.
Lee made her first bogey of the day at the 12th (par-4), but it was still a one-sided affair with Lee leading by six strokes with six holes remaining.
Lee dropped back-to-back shots on the 14th and 15th holes, but it didn’t stop her from winning.
With a four-stroke lead, Lee briefly experienced an embarrassing moment on the final 18th hole (par-5) when she put her second shot in the water and holed out for bogey, but she held up three fingers to celebrate her victory.
Kim Soo-ji, the 2021 champion of this event, shot a 2-under 70 to win the runner-up battle that was just as hot as the title race. Kim shot a 5-under-par 283.
Kim birdied the 16th (par-3) and then the 18th (par-5) to pull within two strokes, but a double bogey on the eighth (par-4) was not enough to overcome her deficit.
Sung and rookie Hwang Yoo-jin, who travels to the United States for the LPGA Tour Qualifying Series on Nov. 11, were two strokes back in a tie for third at 2-under 286.
Defending champion Park Min-ji shot an even-par 72 to finish in a tie for 18th place (7-over par 295).
Playing as an invitee, Park also carded an even-par 72 on the day to finish in a tie for 26th place (10-over par 298).
After four days in the clouds, Park will be back in front of her home fans at the LPGA Tour’s BMW Women’s Championship, which begins on April 19 at Seowon Hills Country Club in Paju, Gyeonggi-do. 슬롯게이밍