Ladies’s PGA Championship: Mirim Lee admits she ‘had no motivation to play golf’ earlier than profitable her debut main

Due to the shortage of aggressive golf as a result of coronavirus pandemic, Lee was having a “powerful time” adjusting to life with out the power to “constantly do effectively” within the sport.

Nonetheless, with the assistance of her trainer and former Girls Skilled Golf Affiliation (LGPA) Tour participant Kim Tune-Hee, Lee recouped her confidence on the ANA Inspiration, which was performed at California’s Mission Hills Nation Membership.
And forward of the showdown with two of the world’s 10 greatest golfers, Lee once more sought recommendation from Tune-Hee.

“I talked on the telephone together with her earlier than going into the playoff,” Lee advised CNN Sport. “Whereas I used to be ready for the final two gamers to complete, I advised Kim that my photographs wavered within the last spherical.

“She advised me that I did effectively in every little thing I can do, so simply present every little thing I had within the playoff. I believe that helped me to get snug.”

Onerous occasions

After profitable the ANA Inspiration due to a six-foot birdie on the primary playoff gap whereas her rivals floundered, the 29-year-old Lee’s emotion wasn’t instantly one among elation. In truth Lees reveals she “did not really feel something.”

“As a substitute, I believed concerning the exhausting occasions I have been by way of,” she defined. “I used to be pleased, however I recalled recollections of the powerful occasions greater than the happiness of profitable. It was my first time crying after profitable.

‘It is loopy!’ Till a month and a half in the past, I advised her [Song-Hee] that I do not wish to play golf as a result of I used to be too exhausted.

“Even only a month-and-a-half in the past, you used to say this. That is unattainable!’ She could not imagine it as effectively. I modified in a month! I modified after struggling for 3 years, not enjoying effectively, so she mentioned: ‘That is actually loopy! You are mad!'”

Lee poses with the trophy after winning the ANA Inspiration.

Previous to the ANA Inspiration, Lee’s final win on the LPGA Tour had come on the Kia Basic in 2017. Since that win, she had completed within the prime 10 simply 5 occasions.

The closest she had beforehand come to profitable a significant had been on the Ladies’s British Open in 2016, when Lee completed tied for second after taking pictures a 10-under par 62 within the opening spherical to tie the occasion’s single-round file.

Based on Lee, she did not put together “something otherwise” for her ANA Inspiration win.

“It’s a main competitors, however for me it was extra of a testing alternative to point out what I had practiced with Tune-Hee. It’s a main, however I participated as if it isn’t a significant. I believe I participated to check my photographs.”

Lee’s preparations have been additionally unsettled when her common caddie, Duncan French, found he would not be capable of get hold of a visa to journey to the US from his native New Zealand.

Whereas she used the experience of caddie Matt Gelczis — who joined her by leaping into the enduring Poppie’s Pond as is customary after profitable the ANA Inspiration — Lee nonetheless leant on French’s recommendation from afar.

“He contacted me after the second spherical. He advised me that I used to be doing effectively and gave me a whole lot of recommendation. I advised him I might like for him to get right here ASAP. I saved telling him: ‘I want you have been right here; when will you get right here?'”

Lee hits an approach shot during day four of the 2014 Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing, China.

Utilizing the surroundings

Wanting again on the ANA Inspiration, Lee thinks her play initially had suffered by her getting forward of herself.

“Till the secod spherical … I tended to focus extra on the rating than what I had practiced. I believe I used to be getting desperate to win.”

However having spoken to Tune-Hee again in South Korea, she was in a position to loosen up extra and play her pure sport which enabled her to have the wonderful last day.

When she began the ultimate day two photographs behind Korda and Henderson, the South Korean additionally felt as if the strain was off. Whereas others faltered, Lee chipped in a exceptional thrice throughout her last spherical, together with on the ultimate gap to qualify for the three-way playoff.

Her last gap chip did not come with out controversy although.

Whereas often the 18th inexperienced could be surrounded by onlooking followers, with folks prohibited from attending due to the coronavirus pandemic, a big blue wall took the place of these spectators as a substitute.

Lee’s method to the ultimate inexperienced would have usually sailed into the water over the inexperienced, however as a substitute, she purposely performed her shot off the wall in order that it stopped just some ft off the placing floor.

She chipped in from there, qualifying her for the playoff. And Lee says that hitting the ball in opposition to that wall was one thing that she practiced after seeing different gamers do it.

“I believe each participant used that wall. I had heard that you could get a drop when the ball lands close to the wall. All of the gamers that I performed with within the first and second spherical have been hitting the ball in direction of the wall, so I believed I may do it as effectively.”

Lee plays her third shot on the par 4, first hole during the first round of the 2017 ANA Inspiration.

Going ahead

Even after Lee had chipped in to cap a final-round 67 and provides her the clubhouse lead, Korda had nonetheless but to complete the ultimate gap. Regardless of having completed so strongly, Lee was satisfied she’d find yourself in second place.

“Going into the 18th gap, I set my thoughts to a minimum of end second or third. I hit an eagle on the 18th gap, however I nonetheless did not count on to win, as a result of I believed Korda was going to complete with a birdie certainly.

“I used to be considering that ending second continues to be end result. As a result of Korda can hit long-range, I anticipated her to simply hit a birdie.”

However Korda needed to accept par on the par-five 18th, forcing the playoff. For Lee, the playoff was the place she thrived.

“Really, I used to be extra snug within the playoff than the remainder of the ultimate spherical. In truth, I believe I confirmed all of the efficiency I had on the playoff. I did a snug swing that I could not do in the course of the last spherical. I used to be simply extra snug typically.”

Lee and caddie Gelczis celebrate after taking the Poppie's Pond leap after winning the ANA Inspiration.

Now Lee is gearing up for the KPMG Ladies’s PGA Championship at Aronimink Golf Membership in Pennsylvania, the season’s third main championship. She has twice completed within the prime 10 on the event, most not too long ago in 2019.

And having received the primary main of her profession, Lee has regained her ardour for the sport.

“I believe I gained extra confidence after profitable. Additionally, I am having fun with golf now. I believe it [the win] turned every little thing reverse. I believe I form of know how one can play golf now. Previous to this, I did not know the way and what to do, however now I’ve the sensation I do know what to do.”

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