Mirim Lee wins a stunner in a playoff at the ANA Inspiration

Ross Houston
September 16, 2020

Lee Mi-rim won the ANA Inspiration in stunning style Sunday, chipping in for eagle at the 72nd hole and beating Brooke Henderson and Nelly Korda with a birdie at the first playoff hole. "To be honest, I feel like I must be a little insane for winning and for having won this, and I think I'll be able to feel it once I meet my family and reunite with them", added lee, who claimed her fourth LPGA victory and her first since the 2017 Kia Classic.

Lee pitched in from long range for par on the 16th, dropped a shot on the next hole and appeared to be out of it until her chip from behind the 18th green rammed against the pin and dropped for eagle and a 5-under 67. Korda, the daughter of former Australian Open victor Petr, hit her third bogey of the day on the 12th, giving Henderson the overall lead at 15 under.

Korda, the 22-year-old American going for her first major, had a two-shot lead with four holes to play and didn't have a good look at birdie the rest of the day and shot 69. Sunday was the 23-year-old's second career playoff, having won her first and only major - the KPMG Women's PGA Championship - by edging Lydia Ko in the sudden-death format four years ago.

Lee hit a attractive fairway metal that led to her up-and-down for birdie.

Mirim Lee ran toward the water for the winner's leap into Poppie's Pond, and there was no blue wall to stop her. With a one-shot lead going to the par-five 18th, Korda missed the fairway, had to lay up and missed the green to the right, having to scramble for par and a 69 just to match Lee at 15-under 273.

Just when it seemed that the second female major of the season was a battle between two of the LPGA Tour's best-known stars, so Mirim Lee sneaked in to grasp the Ana Inspiration glory.

Henderson made her move in the third round at Mission Hills Country Club, shooting a superb seven-under 65 on Saturday. But that was the last birdie she made. Henderson's second shot came up just short, and she used putter for her eagle attempt that rolled out some 7 feet pasts.

The chalet in normal years has served as a buffer for shots struck too hard, but it served no objective except for some signage that didn't really stand out.

It was a remarkable victory for Lee after sitting two shots back on the 18th tee.

She chipped down to 2 feet for birdie to join the three-way playoff. But she birdied the 16th and 18th to at least give herself a chance. Boulden, 27, from Wales, went into the final round trailing Sanna Nuutinen by a shot but her eight-under-par round saw her finish on 17 under, three shots clear of Australia's Stephanie Kyriacou.

US Women's Amateur champion Rose Zhang birdied the 18th for a 72 to tie for 11th.

But the Canadian registered a double-bogey on the 13th - a hole she also bogeyed on Saturday - to fall back into a tie for second with Lee, and setting up the drama to come.

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