Australian Ladies Professional Golf
Lee leading amateur at Kraft Nabisco
Date: 7th April 2014
By: Golf Australia / Agencies

Minjee Lee
Minjee Lee (R) holds the trophy with champion Lexi Thompson. Photo: Getty
Australian and World Number 1 amateur Minjee Lee has finished as the leading amateur at the Kraft Nabisco Championship - her first appearance at a Major championship.

The 17 year-old from Perth finished at even par after rounds of 75-68-73-72 to finish at even par for the championship in a tie for 24th place at Rancho Mirage in California.

Fellow Australian and World Number 5 amateur Su-Hyun Oh from Victoria also made the cut, finishing in a tie for 51st place after rounds of 74-74-73-74.

World Number 5 Australian Karrie Webb finished as the leading Aussie in a tie for 11th at 2-under par.

19-year-old Lexi Thompson beat Michelle Wie into Poppie's Pond, too, capping the breakthrough major victory with the traditional victory leap into the water near the 18th green. "It's just a dream come true," Thompson said.

Thompson closed with a bogey-free 4-under 68 for a three-stroke victory. She birdied four of the first nine holes to open a five-stroke lead and parred the final nine.

"This is what I've worked so hard for," Thompson said. "This was one of my goals coming into the year, to win a major. I've always seen myself winning a Kraft Nabisco. It's such a huge honor with all the history behind the tournament."

Wie was second, birdieing the final hole for a 71. She used her driver only four times, choosing to hit fairway-metal stingers on the other 10 driving holes — leaving her as much as 60 yards behind Thompson. When both hit 3-woods, Thompson also had the advantage.

"I stuck with my game plan and I think it was the right play," Wie said. "Who knows? In hindsight you would do something here or do something there, make a putt there. That's the way golf is. I just couldn't get anything going today."

Thompson became the second-youngest major winner in LPGA Tour history at 19 years, 1 month, 27 days. Morgan Pressel set the record in her 2007 victory at Mission Hills at 18 years, 10 months, 9 days.

Thompson finished at 14-under 274 for her fourth LPGA Tour victory. She opened with a 73, shot a tournament-best 64 on Friday and had a 69 on Saturday to tie for the lead with Wie at 10 under. The 6-foot Florida player had only one bogey — when she missed a 3-footer on the par-5 18th Saturday — in her last 55 holes.

"You have to hit it in the fairway and, if you miss it, just miss it small," Thompson said. "I think just staying into it mentally. When I had a bad hole, I'd just fight right back. Or if I hit a bad shot, just know that I can get it up-and-down or get it on the green."

Thompson won the 2011 Navistar LPGA in Alabama at 16 to become the youngest winner in tour history, a mark broken by Lydia Ko in the 2012 Canadian Women's Open. Last year, Thompson won the LPGA Malaysia and Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

The 24-year-old Wie made her 12th start in the event. She was ninth in 2003 at age 13, fourth the following year and tied for third at 16 in 2006. She also was sixth in 2011.

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