LPGA, Minjee Lee, Cognizant Founders Cup
Minjee Lee celebrates by kissing the LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup trophy. (Photo by Christopher Shannon - JSN)

Minjee Lee Closes Out Cognizant Founders Cup With A Birdie To Clinch The Win

After four rounds of incredible golf, cloudy skies, and five hundred volunteers, the LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup comes to a close. The final finish came down to a single stroke for the winner to be crowned. 

When the LPGA was founded in 1950 it was meant to provide a platform for women to play professional golf. Nine years after its start, the same women focused on the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals. The game of women’s gold has grown because of their commitment to creating a space for them. 

The Cognizant Founders Cup began to honor the thirteen women who are the foundation of the LPGA. Every member on tour embodies the idea to “Act Like A Founder”, the slogan of the tournament. This year honored golf legend Shirley Spork, who would have turned 95 on May 14. There were symbols of yellow, her golf clubs, rubber ducks, and bucket hats all around the course as well as a chair dedicated to her at the 18th hole on the Founder’s Perch. 

Along with honoring the founders, the Founders Cup pairs with Girl’s Golf, an organization built up in combination with the LPGA and USGA. They are the only national junior golf program that specializes in providing girl-friendly environments for juniors to learn the game of golf. Since its start more and more girls have joined the program to learn the game, several making it to the LPGA tour. During the weekend of competition 21 of the women on the course grew up through the organization. Throughout the week there were events set up for kids to go get a free gold lesson, learn putting, and of course watch world class athletes.

MINJEE LEE HOLDS ON FOR WIN 

Minjee Lee opened her first round of the Founders Cup on Thursday with a 67, just -5 under par. The score had her sitting in seventh place but not for long. Her score of a 63, -14 under par on Friday sent her skyrocketing to the top of the leaderboard. The momentum from Friday continued through the next two days of competition with her scoring a 69 and 70 on the weekend to solidify her lead. Lee concluded her weekend with a win and was -19 under par, her final shot of the weekend ending with a birdie.

Lee spoke about her season so far saying, "I just feel like I've kind of been trending. I've been hitting it really, really well this whole -- I mean, this whole season, and I just felt like it was kind of around the corner. I kept knocking on the door, and here I am now. I finished with a win this week" 

For Lee this win marks her first victory since the 2021 Amundi Evian Championship and her first of the 2022 season. It would also mark her seventh title of the LPGA tour. Including the win in the Founders Cup, she has recorded two top-five finishes, a tie for second at the HSBC Women’s World Championship and a tie for third at the DIO Implant LA Open

Sunday began with an hour delay due to fog to kick off the final day of the Founders Cup. However, once play began the sun came out as the golfers got onto the green. Minjee Lee, Lexi Thompson, and Madelene Sagström tee’d off at hole one to kick off their final 18 holes. Those three held the top of the leader board with Lee in first, Sagström in second, and Thomspon in third but that quickly changed. As play began Thomspon was able to stay -1 under par moving her up to second while Sagström went +3 pushing her down to fifth place after the first nine. 

Angel Yin who sat in fourth at the closing of yesterday was able to make her way up to third place to end her tournament. Going into the back nine, Yin, Lee, and Thompson were in a three way tie for first. As they neared the 18th hole, the last one of the course, a split came with Lee and Thomspon bouncing back and forth between the top spots. Thompson came into the final hole one stroke behind Lee. In order to win she needed to come out under par but after missing a putt for a birdie Lee was able to secure the win. 

WHAT'S NEXT ON TOUR

The LPGA heads to Las Vegas, Nevada for the Bank Of Hope LPGA Match-Play. The tournament begins late this month running from May 25 thru May 29. This will be the second year of the tournament and Ally Ewing will be back to defend her inaugural title. 

More information can be found on lpga.com or stay up to date on their social media @LPGA and @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram).

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