Minjee Lee takes out Greg Norman Medal as Cam Smith enters world’s top 10

A day after celebrating Cameron Smith’s elevation into the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time, Australian golf on Tuesday night presented the Greg Norman Medal to world No.7 Minjee Lee.

It is the second time Lee, 25, has won Australian golf’s highest honour, following her success in 2018. Her remarkable 2021 included her first victory in a major when she overcame a seven-shot deficit in the final round to win the Amundi Evian Championship Trophy from South Korea’s Jeongeun Lee6.

Minjee Lee reacts to her putt on the 17th green during the final round of the LPGA Tour Championship in Florida in November.Credit:AP Photo

In that tournament she birdied four of the final five holes to join Jan Stephenson, Karrie Webb and Hannah Green as Australian women with major championship titles. It was the highlight of a year in which she had seven top-five finishes and earned $US1.5 million ($2.09 million) in prizemoney.

The Greg Norman Medal, awarded annually since 2015 to Australia’s best male or female professional golfer on the international stage, was presented to Lee at Brisbane’s City Hall, the occasion also serving as a launching pad for the Australian PGA and WPGA championships, which begin at Royal Queensland tomorrow.

Lee defeated her brother Min Woo Lee, who was also a candidate to win the award, to become the second person to win the award twice, with Jason Day winning the award in 2015 and 2016.

TPS Victoria champion and Order of Merit winner Brad Kennedy was named PGA Tour of Australasia Player of the Year, while two-time Ladies European Tour winner Stephanie Kyriacou was awarded WPGA Tour of Australasia Player of the Year.

Smith, last year’s Greg Norman Medal winner, has made an early claim to win the award in 2022 after his amazing Tournament of Champions victory in Hawaii. Smith shot a US PGA record low of 34 under par over 72 holes to hold out world No.1 Jon Rahm. Australian golfer Matt Jones charged home to finish third after shooting 62 and 61 in the final two rounds on the par 73 course.

Smith’s win helped him jump 11 spots up the world rankings to become the ninth Australian to enter the top 10 since the world rankings began in 1986.

Norman, Stuart Appleby, Ian Baker-Finch, Rodger Davis, Jason Day, Steve Elkington, Geoff Ogilvy and Adam Scott are the other Australian male players to sit in the world’s top 10 during their careers.

Smith, 28, has four PGA tour victories to his name and has his sights set on becoming the No.1 golfer in the world. Marc Leishman (ranked 33), Lucas Herbert (40), Adam Scott (47) and Lee (49) are the other Australian men inside the top 50. Hannah Green (27) is the only Australian besides Lee in the top 50 female players.

with Reuters

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