Minjee Lee becomes first woman to be named Australia’s top golfer

Perth star Minjee Lee has beaten Jason Day and Marc Leishman to be named the winner of this year's Greg Norman Medal, becoming the first woman to take out Australian golf's most-prestigious individual award.

The medal was established in 2015 to go to the nation's best-performing golfer. Day took it out during its first two years, with Leishman the winner in 2017. Now Lee has added her name to the honour roll.

Lee was announced as the victor at a dinner on the Gold Coast ahead of the Australian PGA Championship. It comes on the back of another excellent year, which saw her climb from 19th in the world to No.6.

"Im humbled to have won such a prestigious award alongside two amazing golfers already in Marc and Jason," said Lee, who also competed for Australia at the Rio Olympic Games.

Driving force: Lee on the way to victory at the Volvik Championship in May. She has now won the Greg Norman Medal.

Driving force: Lee on the way to victory at the Volvik Championship in May. She has now won the Greg Norman Medal.Credit:Carlos Osorio


"Its a great honour, Greg is arguably one of the greatest golfers to ever come out of Australia so to win an award attached to his name is really special.

"Ive had a great 2018 season and this is a really nice way to be acknowledged for that."

Lee was a star amateur and has started to knock on the door of some of the majors on the LPGA Tour. She pocketed $US1.5m ($2.07m) thanks to 13 top-10 finishes and a victory at the Volvik Championship in May.

She started the year in fine style with a win in the Vic Open (co-sanctioned on the European Tour) for the second time, streeting the field by five shots.

Lee went on to be runner up at the Canberra Classic and then finish top-five at the Australian Open, before stringing together another four top-10 finishes in the US, a second at the Mediheal Championship and finally a breakthrough win at the Volvik Championship.

That saw her face to fifth spot in the world, before dropping back just a solitary spot to finish the year in sixth.

Norman wasn't at Royal Pines for the awards ceremony but sent a video message but said Lee had been the outstanding player in Australian golf over the past 12 months and was a deserving recipient of the medal.

"Australian professional golf has seen a successful year, with notable performances from both our male and female players around the world," Norman said.

"We have seen the emergence of some great young players, making their name in the US and Europe, and seen many of our established players continue their successful careers.

"One nominee for the Greg Norman Medal this year stood out above the rest. Two tournament wins, one in Australia at the Vic Open, and one on the LPGA tour at the Volvik Championship, outstanding performances in all major championship events and a fifth-place standing on the Race to CME Globe, her ranking moved from 19th to fifth in the world.

"It is my honour to announce the first female recipient of the Greg Norman Medal, by virtue of her success in 2018, is Minjee Lee."

Lee was also announced as the ALPG Player of the Year, with ACT veteran Matt Millar the PGA Tour of Australasia Player of the Year.

The dinner has become a fixture ahead of the PGA Championship, which will see Cameron Smith try to defend the Joe Kirkwood Cup when the tournament begins on Thursday.

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