World Number 1 amateur Minjee Lee has announced she is turning professional in a light-hearted #GoodLuckMinjee video with Fremantle Dockers club captain Matthew Pavlich.
The 18 year-old Western Australian has taken all before her in the amateur game, winning multiple times in Australia and overseas and is already ranked 80 on the women’s professional rankings.
The Royal Fremantle Golf Club member burst onto the international scene in 2012, becoming the first Australian to win the US Junior Girls’ Championship.
Since that time, she has won back-to-back Australian Amateur championships, the Oates Victorian Open and finished as the leading amateur at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California in April - her first start in a Major championship. Minjee yesterday lead the Australian team to victory in the Women's World Amateur Team Championship in Japan. The victory was set up by a blistering performance over the final two rounds from the World Number 1 amateur who bounced back from a first round 73 to shoot 70-64-65 (-16).
“I’m excited about making the move to the pro ranks and everything that comes with that,” Lee said.
“I have really enjoyed my amateur career. I’ve had great experiences both here in Australia and overseas and I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of support services and resources from Golf Australia and have had additional help from Golf WA and Royal Fremantle over that journey. I would thank Golf Australia, Golf WA, Royal Fremantle and its members for everything they’ve done for me– the support has been really important.”
“Finishing my amateur career as the world number one is a real honour and I’m very proud to have been awarded the Mark H. McCormack medal,” Lee added.
“Together with my family, friends and my coach Ritchie Smith, we have put in so much work in recent years to get to this point and after having a taste of Tour life this year, I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Lee will make her first appearance as a professional next week at The Evian Championship in France – the LPGA Tour’s newest major championship.
Golf Australia High Performance Director Brad James congratulated Lee on her amateur career.
“Minjee is a very special talent – an incredibly driven player with enormous ability. The pathway to becoming the world’s number 1 player takes a great deal of hard work and dedication. We believe Minjee has those qualities as she strives to achieve that goal,” James said.
“It was clear to us early on that Minjee had all the tools to make it at the international level. We have enjoyed working with Minjee and her coach Ritchie in helping her achieve her goals in recent years through our National Squad structure. We will continue to work closely with Minjee in the next few years as she transitions into Golf Australia’s Rookie Professional Program. We wish her well for the next stage of her career – she has been an excellent ambassador for Australian amateur golf.”
Minjee Lee Fact File
Home Club: Royal Fremantle Golf Club
World Number 1 Amateur
2014 Mark H McCormack Medalist
Leading Amateur – Kraft Nabisco Championship (LPGA Tour)
2014 Australian Amateur champion
2013 Australian Amateur champion
2012 US Junior champion