Jeongeun Lee6 wins US Women’s Open for first LPGA title

Twenty-three-year-old South Korean Jeongeun Lee6 won the US Women’s Open in Charleston on Sunday for her first LPGA and major title.

Lee6, who goes by the nickname “Six”, only joined the LPGA as a full-time member at the start of the year, but can now call herself a major champion after a closing one-under-par 70 saw her complete a two-shot victory at the Country Club of Charleston in South Carolina.

Lee6 showed clear signs of nerves towards the end of the tournament, dropping two shots in her final three holes, but none of her rivals were able to take advantage and she still had enough of a cushion to close out the win.

“Throughout the year I couldn’t imagine coming this far, winning the first LPGA tournament, also a major championship,” she said. “I worked so hard and I feel proud of myself.”

It was a six-under winning total for the player who is known as Jeongeun Lee6 because she was the sixth player of that name on the Korean LPGA tour.

She has embraced the moniker, even writing the number in red ink on her golf ball.

Aside from the trophy and the honour of calling herself a major champion, Lee6 also collected a record $1 million prize, the biggest single-tournament payout in women’s golf history.

Lee started her round two shots behind co-leaders Boutier and Liu Yu of China, but made three birdies during a five-hole stretch from the par-three 11th to soar into the lead, and not even her late stumble could deny her the victory.

“I felt pretty nervous starting on the holes 16, 17, and 18, but I tried the best that I can,” said Lee6.

“I know I made two bogeys, but I just didn’t want to think about it too much.”

Boutier and Liu Yu both had disappointing rounds of 75 to fall off the pace, as second place ultimately went to Americans Angel Yin (68) and Lexi Thompson (73), along with South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu (70).

It was a particularly disappointing finish four Boutier, who missed a short putt for birdie on 16 before double-bogeying the last to ruin her chances of forcing a playoff.

Boutier said the wind caused her to miss the putt on 16.

“When I was at address, the wind kind of blew in the opposite direction so I kind of pushed it as a reaction,” she said.

On the closing double-bogey, she added: “I knew it was a tough hole. I just wanted to be on regulation in two, and then if I made the putt, but I missed the green so…”

Asked to rate her performance on the day, she said: “Well, on a scale of one to ten, probably a one. I feel pretty bad right now. So, hopefully, I’ll learn from this.”