Minjee Lee leads Australian chase for $12m at the Chevron Championship


A bumper crop of nine Australians have $12m reasons to try to topple arguably the hottest golfer on the planet after confirmation of a massive cash bump for the first major of the LPGA season at this week’s Chevron Championship.

While men’s world No.1 Scottie Scheffler cemented his standing with a second Masters win, women’s world No.1 Nelly Korda is going for a fifth straight victory at The Woodlands in Texas having proved unstoppable in 2024.

It’s been nearly 50 years since anyone on the LPGA tour has won five events in a row.

Legendary Nancy Lopez did it in 1978, and Korda is taking inspiration from Scheffler’s ability to win at Augusta amid expectations of being the world’s best.

“I love his morals, I love his attitude out there. I just love the way he goes about his business. He inspires so many around him, including myself,” she said.

“As he even said, he wants to win every tournament he tees it up in. That’s every girl that’s out here competing, too. I think that you just have to go about your business.

“You can get lost in the articles, lost in the expectations, but I think if you just stick to your true self, I feel like you can live in your own bubble and enjoy it a lot more.”

World No.5 Minjee Lee leads the Aussie assault having failed to fire so far in 2024, competing in just four events through the opening four months of the year.

Generation next is also out to make a major impact, including Grace Kim, in her second year on the LPGA Tour, Hira Naveed, coming off a career-best second place finish at the Ford Championship two weeks ago, and rising star Gabriela Ruffels, who has broken into the world’s top 100 as a rookie.

Ranked 81, behind only Lee, Hannah Green (16) and Kim (78) among the Australians, Ruffels declared herself ready to take the next step and win on the LPGA Tour having finished third in a crack field at the Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship in California in March after winning three times on the secondary Epsom Tour in 2023.

“I definitely feel like I’m playing well. That was a really cool week in Palos Verdes to get third and one shot out of the playoff,” Ruffels said this week.

“And it kind of showed me that when my game is good, it’s there and I can compete with the best in the world. I’m excited.”

AUSTRALIANS AT THE CHEVRON CHAMPIONSHIP

Minjee Lee, Hannah Green, Grace Kim, Stephanie Kyriacou, Sarah Kemp, Gabriela Ruffels, Hira Naveed, Hira Naveed, Karis Davidson.