Golf's 'Great Wall of Dinah' proves big talking point in women's major
Korea’s Mirim Lee used man-made structure to help her win ANA Inspiration
Korea's Mirim Lee admitted she'd intentionally used a temporary wall behind the island green on the 18th hole at Mission Hills Country Club in California to help her become a first-time major winner in the ANA Inspiration.
The 29-year-old, who chipped in three times in the final round, beat Canada's Brooke Henderson and American Nelly Korda at the first extra hole in a play-off after the trio had tied on 15-under-par at the Rancho Mirage venue.
Lee's first success since the 2017 Kia Classic came after her 5-wood second shot at the 72nd hole was stopped from going into water at the back of the green by a man-made blue wall.
Dubbed the "Great Wall of Dinah" after American singer Dinah Shore, who has a statue close to the 18th green, it had been built by organisers in place of the normal grandstands, which were not needed this year due to no fans being in attendance.
Two off the lead at the time, she took full advantage of her break by chipping in from around 60 feet, having already done that at the sixth and 16th, both for birdies, before winning the sudden-death shoot-out with a birdie at the 18th.
“I definitely thought to utilise the back and the backboard,” said Lee after taking the winner's customary dip into Poppie's Pond. “When I had practice rounds, I had practised that shot, so it was a definite for me to use the space there.”
Lee joined Collin Morikawa and Sophia Popov in making the big breakthrough in majors behind closed doors after their victories in the US PGA Championship and AIG Women's Open respectively.
“I can't really believe it right now,” she admitted, having closed with a 67 on a day when Henderson and Korda both carded 69s.
“To be honest, I feel like I must be a little crazy for winning and for having won this, and I think I'll be able to feel it once I meet my family and reunite with them.”
Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open champion Stacy Lewis finished fifth on 12-under, three ahead of Mel Reid as she claimed the honour of top European.
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