Lee Mee-na, a 24-year old Korean female golfer, used a last minute stretch to win her first championship on the LPGA tour.
In the final round of the Canadian Women`s Open at the par 72 Glen Arbour Golf Course in Hammond Plains, Canada, on July 18, Lee, who finished the previous round three shots behind the leader, finished the final round with a nine-under 279, completing a dramatic come-from-behind victory.
After saving four strokes by the 13th hole to jump into the race for championship, Lee got a birdie at the 16th hole right when other players lost their rhythm.
She has participated in 16 games this year and placed at 2nd in the Corning Classic and the World Matchplay Championship before winning the Canadian Womens Open. She also became the third Korean female golfer to win a championship this year, following Kang Ji-min of CJ, who won the Corning Classic, and Kim Joo-yeon of KTF, who won the U.S. Womens Open.
After making her debut this year via qualifying school, Lee has not found a sponsor yet and has had to pay about $20,000 per month to keep participating on the tour.
In February, she even drove her father`s old van for four days all the way from Orlando to Los Angeles to participate in a tournament.
She is earning her living playing golf, and the prize money of $195,000 she won for the championship will be added to the $643,933 she has earned so far this year. She currently ranks seventh in the money rankings, giving her financial stability for some time.
Chung Il-mi (Giga Golf) shared third place with a score of seven-under, finishing in the top 10 of a tournament for the first time after her debut on the U.S. golf tour last year.
In the meantime, Lee Sun-hwa of CJ won the LPGAs second-tier Albany Futures Classic with a 14-under 199, putting her into first place in her tiers prize money rankings ($40,484) and giving her the possibility of earning a full-seed ticket for regular tour for 2006, which will be awarded to the top five players in the tiers money rankings.