Lee, Green leads Australian golf major charge

It’s the season for the hunt for Australian golf stars as the first of an 18-week series of nine major championships kicks off in California on Thursday.

The party begins at the Chevron Championship in Mission Hills, where Minjee Lee and Hannah Green are spearheading Australia’s assault on the first major women’s tournament of 2022.

The major-winning duo and their Perth teammates will play in the same duo at Rancho Mirage, where Su Oh, Sarah Kemp and Gabriela Ruffels complete Australia’s five-person contingent.

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Enjoying her highest ranking since 2019 after a blistering start to the LPGA season, world No. 4 Lee is hoping to rack up the majors and join the Hall of Fame following her breakthrough at the Evian Championship last year in France.

Golfing legend Karrie Webb has no doubt Lee’s lofty goals are achievable after witnessing first-hand the 25-year-old prodigy’s development into a contender for the eternal title.

“She’s got the results there. I think it’s just a few things that put her on a roll where she could win multiple times,” Webb told AAP.

“She definitely has the game. There really isn’t a part of her game that’s holding her back enough that she can’t achieve the things she set out to do.

“I love watching people like Minjee, Hannah Green and Su Oh since they were young and I can sit back and watch how their careers develop. It was fun.”

Webb won the last of his best seven Australian majors at Mission Hills in 2006 after hitting an eagle on the 72nd hole to force a playoff and then a cannonball into ‘Poppie’s Pond’ to celebrate in traditional champion fashion after holding off Lorena Ochoa in one of golf’s great comebacks.

The newly appointed Olympic team captain also won at Rancho Mirage in 2000 and knows opportunities abound in the next three and a half months for Lee, Green, Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Adam Scott, Jason Day and company. to add to Australia’s main transport.

After the Chevron Championship, formerly known as the ANA Inspiration and Kraft Nabisco Championship, there is on average one major tournament every fortnight until early August.

The Masters begins Thursday week, with newly crowned Players’ Champion Smith and 2013 winner Scott leading Australia’s six-man challenge in the first men’s major tournament of 2022.

Veteran Marc Leishman and newbies Cam Davis, Lucas Herbert and Min Woo Lee will be vying for a coveted green jacket at Augusta National, but former runner-up Jason Day must win this week’s Texas Open to receive a late invite.

2022 MAJOR GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS:

WOMEN

Chevron Championship, Mission Hills, CA, March 31-April 3

US Women’s Open, Pine Needle, NC, June 2-5

Women’s PGA Championship, Congress, Maryland, June 23-26

The Evian Championship, Evian Resort, France, July 21-24

Women’s British Open, Muirfield, Scotland, August 4-7

MEN

The Masters, Augusta National, Georgia, April 7-10

US PGA Championship, Southern Hills, Oklahoma, May 19-22

US Open, The Country Club, Brookline, MA, June 16-19

British Open, Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland, July 14-17

Helen L. Cuellar