Minjee Lee kept the youth movement going in the women’s game Saturday with her victory at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii.

Lee’s triumph marked the third in a row for LPGA teenagers this year.

Lee, 19, won on the heels of back-to-back victories by 18-year-old Lydia Ko

How young are this year’s LPGA winners through nine events?

If you’re a 21-year-old on tour, you’re old. Well, you’re older than the average winner this season. The average winner is 20.8 years old.

Ha Na Jang was 23 years, 10 months and 4 days old when she won the HSBC Women’s Champions last month. That makes her the oldest winner this season.

“The last couple of years, we’ve seen a lot of the younger girls come out and really play well,” Lee said. “It's a really strong, young group of players coming up. There’s Lydia, Brooke [Henderson], Sei Young [Kim] ... Everyone is, like, under 25. That’s really young.”

Lee said the young players are pushing each other.

“They’re all your rivals, pretty much,” Lee said. “You want to beat each other. We're going to motivate each other that way.”

Four shots behind Burnett making the turn Sunday, Lee played the final eight holes in 6 under par. She birdied the 11th, pitched in for eagle at the 13th and then birdied the 14th, 15th and 17th holes.

“Yesterday I spoke to my coach and he was like, `You're only five back. Just shoot 8 under and you'll be fine,’” Lee said. “And I shot 8 under. So, that was good.”

Lee was part of last year’s dynamic LPGA rookie class, probably the strongest and deepest in the history of the tour. The world No. 1 amateur when she turned pro in September 2014, Lee shared medalist honors at LPGA Q-School three months later. She didn’t take long to notch her first victory last year, winning the Kingsmill Championship four months into her rookie season. A month after winning Kingsmill, Lee moved past Hall of Famer Karrie Webb as the highest ranked Australian in the world. Lee’s expected to move to No. 12 on the Rolex Women’s World Rankings with this victory.

At 26, Burnett was seeking her first LPGA title.

With Lee catching her on the back nine, Burnett three-putted the 16th hole to fall a shot behind. At the 17th, Burnett missed a 6-foot chance for birdie to tie. Burnett had a 45-foot birdie chance at the 18th to force a playoff, but her putt drifted just left of the hole.

“I don't think I gave it away by any means,” Burnett said.

Burnett birdied the 13th and 14th holes in bids to hold off Lee’s charge before making the bogey at the 16th. The tie for second is Burnett’s best LPGA finish, her second top-10 finish in a little more than four years on tour. She tied for ninth at the Lotte two years ago.

“I didn't hit it that great, but I still made some putts coming in,” Burnett said. “Could have made a few more, but that's how golf goes.”

Chun, the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champ, also closed strong but missed a 20-foot birdie chance to force a playoff at the last hole. In this her rookie season, Chun hasn’t finished worse than a tie for third in four starts.

 



FINAL TOTALS AND PRIZEMONEY
Par 288 (4x72_

1 Minjee Lee 68   66    74   64     272   $270,000
T2 Katie Burnett 70   66    67   70       273   $143,765
T2 In Gee Chun 74   67 65 67     273 $143,765
4 Moriya Jutanugarn 68 70 68 68     274 $93,516
5 Su Yeon Jang 71 66 67 71     275 $75,270
6 Joanna Klatten 71 70 67 68     276 $61,584
T7 Megan Khang 76 64 70 67     277 $45,770
T7 Mo Martin 72 71 66 68     277 $45,770
T7 Sei Young Kim 69 69 69 70     277 $45,770
T10   Nontaya Srisawang 70 71 71 66     278 $32,224
T10 Brooke Henderson 69 70 71 68     278 $32,224
T10 Shanshan Feng 73 68 69 68     278 $32,224
T10 Pernilla Lindberg 70 72 67 69     278 $32,224
T10 Lexi Thompson 75 66 68 69     278 $32,224
T15 Chella Choi 73 71 68 68     280 $23,904
T15 Ariya Jutanugarn 72 70 69 69     280 $23,904
T15 Lee-Anne Pace 73 69 69 69     280 $23,904
T15 Danielle Kang 72 68 70 70     280 $23,904
T15 Haru Nomura 72 71 67 70     280 $23,904
T20 Ai Miyazato 75 68 73 65     281 $20,619
T20 P.K. Kongkraphan 74 69 65 73     281 $20,619
22 Kris Tamulis 72 70 70 70     282 $19,524
T23 Marion Ricordeau 71 73 73 66     283 $15,893
T23 Jacqui Concolino 74 71 71 67     283 $15,893
T23 Brittany Lang 72 73 71 67     283 $15,893
T23 Lydia Ko 71 72 71 69     283 $15,893
T23 Lizette Salas 75 66 73 69     283 $15,893
T23 Kim Kaufman 69 75 70 69     283 $15,893
T23 Mika Miyazato 77 69 68 69     283 $15,893
T23 Q Baek 74 69 69 71     283 $15,893
T23 Beatriz Recari 72 71 69 71     283 $15,893
T23 Suzann Pettersen 71 71 69 72     283 $15,893
T33 Stephanie Kono 72 71 76 65     284 $11,465
T33 Pornanong Phatlum 73 70 72 69     284 $11,465
T33 Angela Stanford 71 74 69 70     284 $11,465
T33 Julie Yang 73 70 70 71     284 $11,465
T33 Azahara Munoz 71 70 71 72     284 $11,465
T33 Thidapa Suwannapura 72 71 69 72     284 $11,465
T39 Alena Sharp 69 73 75 68     285 $9,124
T39 Sarah Jane Smith 73 72 70 70     285 $9,124
T39 Jodi Ewart Shadoff   73   67  72 73     285 $9,124
T39 Eun-Hee Ji 70 71 71 73     285 $9,124
T39 So Yeon Ryu 72 73 67 73     285 $9,124
44 Paula Creamer 72 70 74 70     286 $8,029
T45 Budsabakorn Sukapan 73 72 70 72     287 $7,618
T45 Lindy Duncan 75 71 68 73     287 $7,618
T47 Celine Herbin 72 74 76 66     288 $6,678
T47 Gaby Lopez 73 73 77 65     288 $6,678
T47 Casey Grice 74 70 74 70     288 $6,678
T47 Su-Hyun Oh 71 73 71 73     288 $6,678
T47 Jenny Shin 74 68 71 75     288 $6,678
T52 Nannette Hill 76 70 73 70     289 $5,565
T52 Lee Lopez 73 72 73 71     289 $5,565
T52 Simin Feng 73 72 73 71     289 $5,565
T52 Hye Jin Choi 72 73 72 72     289 -
T52 Brianna Do 71 75 71 72     289 $5,565
T52 Becky Morgan 72 71 73 73     289 $5,565
T52 Briana Mao 74 70 70 75     289 $5,565
T59 Cristie Kerr 70 74 77 69     290 $4,744
T59 Sarah Kemp 75 70 74 71     290 $4,744
T59 Haeji Kang 73 70 72 75     290 $4,744
T62 Katherine Kirk 74 72 78 67     291 $4,334
T62 Sadena Parks 73 72 74 72     291 $4,334
T62 Min Lee 72 72 74 73     291 $4,334
T62 Holly Clyburn 74 70 71 76     291 $4,334
T66 Mi Jung Hur 73 72 73 74     292 $4,060
T66 Hyo Joo Kim 76 70 71 75     292 $4,060
T68 SooBin Kim 76 70 76 71     293 $3,832
T68 Kelly Shon 72 72 75 74     293 $3,832
T68 Inbee Park 74 71 71 77     293 $3,832
71 Sandra Changkija 72 74 75 73     294 $3,650
72 Samantha Richdale 73 72 74 77     296 $3,605
73 Demi Runas 72 74 78 76     300 $3,557

 

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