New major champ Lee looks for fast start after missing Rio Olympics golf medal

Kawagoe (Japan) (AFP) –


Australia's Minjee Lee said Tuesday she is looking for a "fast start" to her Tokyo Olympics campaign just nine days after shaking off the unwanted title of best woman golfer without a major.

Lee captured her long overdue maiden major at the Evian Championship in France after a record-equalling final-round comeback on July 25.

Five years ago at Rio 2016, Lee tied for seventh as a 20-year-old, two shots behind bronze medallist Feng Shanshan of China.

Now the world number eight said she knows exactly what she needs to do to get in the shake-up for medals when she tees off at Kasumigaseki Country Club on Wednesday.

"You know, I just think that with the Olympics you need to get off to a fast start," she told AFP on Tuesday.

"For some reason I feel like last time in Rio I just slowly built up until the last round. So hopefully this time around I can start off with a good score and then just build from there."

Lee's final-round rally from seven shots behind to win the Evian equalled the best in women's major history.

It capped a great fortnight for her family, after brother Min Woo Lee won the biggest prize of his career at the Scottish Open on the European Tour.

"I just think that I was even more emotional when he won than when I won the Evian Championship, so it was just really nice to see Min Woo win," said Lee.

"I called him after and he was just so happy and he said he was like crying 10 minutes after he won. So that was kind of sweet.

"I think he probably inspired me to pick up my game a little bit and just kind of play well at the Evian."

Lee will tee off for the first two rounds in the company of two other first-time major winners, Thailand's Patty Tavatanakit and Germany's Sophia Popov.

World number 13 Tavatanakit won the year's first major, the ANA Inspiration, while Popov made her breakthrough at last year's women's British Open and will defend her title at Carnoustie later this month.

Lee said she has managed to refocus after the high of winning her first major.

"I had a celebration last week," she admitted. "The last couple days I practised like normal and sort of put that behind me."

"Obviously I'm taking the positives out of that week, but I feel like every week I go in it's like a new week, a new opportunity. I'm pretty focused, yeah," added Lee.

"I'm probably in the best place that I've been in terms of golf and mentally."