Perth teenager Min-Jee Lee has become the first Australian to win the US junior amateur in its 64-year history, beating American Alison Lee at Lake Merced Golf Club near San Francisco over the weekend.
The 16-year-old, who spent three months out at the start of the year after fracturing an ankle in two places, triumphed over a field that included the top two amateurs in the world - New Zealand's Lydia Ko and Thai Ariya Jutanugarn.
She staged a remarkable comeback in the final to win 1-up after 36 holes with Alison Lee in control for most of the day and going 3-up after 30 holes.
The Australian retained her composure, despite struggling with her long irons, winning four straight holes before sealing the win by halving the last two holes.
Lee, a two-time WA amateur champion, climbed to No.3 in the world before breaking her ankle in January. Now ranked No.8, she is certain to be challenging for top spot after her latest victory.
Coach Richie Smith said the injury was a significant setback and she has had to work hard to get back to her best.
"She has really worked diligently to get back to form and the title is a just reward," Smith said.
Lee said the time off allowed her to refuel and work on her game.
"I have come out even stronger and can now do things that I never could have done before from a swing point of view," she said.
Lee capitalised on her opponent's mistakes through the closing holes and never relinquished the fight.
"The thing with Min-Jee is it doesn't look like she is trying that hard, but internally she is really churning things out," Smith said.
"Her consistency is so strong. If the other person makes a mistake, she will prey on that mistake."
Lee thought she was going to lose but hung on hoping for an opening."I think I just played smarter towards the end hitting the ball to the middle of the greens and then just trying to putt it close," she said.
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