CHARLESTON, S.C. • Six is certainly a magic number for U.S. Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6.
The 23-year-old South Korean won her first major title Sunday, the first $1 million women’s winner’s check ever handed out by the USGA and her first victory as an LPGA Tour rookie. And she it did by shooting 1-under 70 at Country Club of Charleston to finish at, naturally, 6-under 278.
“This is kind of really interesting how I finished 6 under at an LPGA tournament,” Lee6 said through an interpreter. “So, this is really lucky number to me.”
Fulton’s Ally McDonald finished in a tie for 10th – her second top-10 finish in as many LPGA majors this year. She tied for sixth at April’s ANA Inspiration.
McDonald, the former Mississippi State standout, picked up a check for $125,518 – her career best on the tour.
With a 71 on Sunday, McDonald finished four strokes behind Lee6.
Lee6 has the number in her name because she was the sixth player with the name on the Korean LPGA. She has embraced the number, answering to it and writing a large “6’’ on her balls. Her South Korean fan club is called “Lucky 6.” Jeongeun Lee5 tied for 34th at 4 over, 10 shots behind Lee6.
Lee6 opened a three-shot lead with three holes to play before facing some nerves with bogeys on the 16th and 18th holes to tighten things up. But when third-round co-leader Celine Boutier’s blast from a greenside bunker on the 72nd hole rolled off the green, Lee6 had the biggest win of her life.
“I didn’t even expect to win the tournament this fast,” Lee6 said. “I think this is very lucky that I won this major championship.”
Lee6, playing two groups ahead of Boutier, was practicing putts when the Frenchwoman could not make the sand shot. Countrywoman So Yeon Ryu, the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open winner, embraced the new champion.
“I felt pretty nervous starting on the holes 16, 17, and 18 after opening the large lead,” Lee6 said. “But I tried the best that I can.”
Lexi Thompson (73), Ryu (70) and Angel Yin (68) tied for second, two shots behind.