Evian Championship: Australia's Minjee Lee claims first major title with play-off win

Lee started the day seven shots adrift of overnight leader Lee6
Lee started the day seven shots adrift of overnight leader Lee6
Evian Championship final leaderboard
-18 M Lee (Aus)* won on first play-off hole, J Lee6 (Kor); -17 Y Noh (US); -15 A Furue (Jpn); -14 A Thitikul (Tha); -13 L Maguire (Ire), G Hall (Eng), IG Chun (Kor), L Ko (NZ)
Selected others:-7 N Korda (US); -6 C Hull (Eng); -5 S Meadow (NI)
Full leaderboard

Australia's Minjee Lee claimed her first major title after she beat Jeongeun Lee6 in a play-off at the Evian Championship in France.

Lee6 found water with her approach at the first extra hole, the par-five 18th, allowing Lee to take victory.

The 25-year-old started the final round seven shots adrift of Lee6 but carded a seven-under-par 64 to force her way into the play-off.

It matches the biggest comeback to win a major in the women's game.

Australia's Karrie Web overturned a seven-shot deficit to defeat Lorena Ochoa in a play-off at the 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship, while Patty Sheehan was seven back entering the final 18 holes at the 1983 Women's PGA Championship.

While Lee soaked up the applause on the 18th green after becoming the fourth Australian woman to win a major, Lee6 was left to reflect on an up-and-down final round at the Evian Resort Golf Club.

Helped by a stunning 61 on Friday, the South Korean looked set to add to her 2019 US Women's Open triumph after establishing a commanding five-shot lead after 54 holes.

However, having opened the final round with a birdie, the 25-year-old dropped five shots in her next seven holes to give hope to Lee and American teenager Yealimi Noh.

Lee birdied four of her last five holes to set the target at 18 under par, but Lee6 bounced back impressively with birdies at the 12th, 16th and 17th to give herself the opportunity to complete a remarkable turnaround.

Lee6 saw her five-shot lead disappear on the front nine before bouncing back to force a play-off
Lee6 saw her five-shot lead disappear on the front nine before bouncing back to force a play-off

With Lee in the clubhouse, Lee6 and Noh were both one shot adrift playing the final hole, but the American, who turns 20 on Monday, could only manage a par to miss out on the play-off.

Lee6 had an eagle putt to win but, after settling for birdie, her challenge was ended in heart-breaking fashion on the first extra hole.

"I never really thought about it [having a chance to win] while I was playing, I just tried to make as many birdies as I could," said Lee, whose brother Min Woo claimed his second European Tour title with a play-off victory at the Scottish Open earlier this month.

"I think I saw the leaderboard maybe once or twice. I just tried to play the best to my ability and it's really great to win a major, it's really amazing."

Record-equalling Maguire and Hall go low

Having started the final round 15 shots off the lead, Ireland's Leona Maguire carded a record-equalling 61 to storm through the field and earn her best finish in a major.

The 26-year-old fired 10 birdies in a flawless closing round to match Kim Hyo-joo's lowest round at a major set in 2014, a score also achieved by Lee6 on Friday.

Maguire, who will represent Ireland at the Olympics alongside Stephanie Meadow, birdied her first three holes and added further gains at the seventh and eighth to go out in 30.

The world number 60 began her back nine with another birdie and finished in style by picking up shots on each of her last four holes for a 10-under-par round to match Lee6's 61 on Friday.

England's Georgia Hall also took advantage of the benign conditions at the Evian Resort Golf Club as the 25-year-old carded six birdies and a closing eagle in a seven-under-par 64.

That was enough for Hall to earn a share of sixth place with Maguire, South Korea's Chun In-gee and 2015 winner Lydia Ko, and secure her highest finish in a major since winning the Women's British Open in 2018.

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