Lee tees up US Women’s Open assault

Teen star Minjee Lee will spearhead Australia’s charge at the US Women’s Open starting on Friday (AEST) at the Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania.

The 19-year-old from Perth, who recently replaced veteran Karrie Webb as the highest-ranking women’s golfer in Australia, says she is looking forward to taking on the challenging 6,483-yard, par-70 course.

“I am really excited to be Aussie No 1. To represent Australia is such a great honour and I want to work even harder to keep my ranking as long as Webby did,” said Lee.

“The course is in great condition, the rough is growing out and especially with the undulating greens I think the tournament will shape up to be very challenging and a great test for us all.

“I really like the look of the course and we all love a challenge so I’m really looking forward to getting started.”

Asked about her chances, she responded: “You never know when it’s going to be your week so I’m going to take one shot at a time and play smart golf.

“I want to enjoy the atmosphere and most of all have fun.”

Fellow compatriots joining Lee in the field are Webb, who won back-to-back Open championships in 2000 and 2001, fellow Queenslanders Katherine Kirk and Sarah Jane Smith, Victorian Breanna Elliott and RACV Ladies Masters Champion Su Oh.

Elliott and Oh made it through qualifying.

Elliott will be the first player to tee off at the Open. She will be joined in the morning groups by Smith, Oh and Webb.

Kirk and Lee will tee-off in the afternoon.

Local newspapers have reported they were expecting over 10,000 spectators to attend the event and the interest has been evident with great crowds during the practice rounds.

“I was surprised how many people were out spectating already just for the practice rounds,” said Lee.

In total 156 players are vying for the Open title and their share of the $US4.5 million ($A6.06 million) purse with the winner taking home a cheque for $US810,000 ($A1.09 million).

American Michelle Wie is the defending champion.

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