Minjee Lee wins Aon Risk Reward Challenge, approaching record payout

NAPLES, Fla. — Minjee Lee received her second seven-figure check of the season after winning the 2022 Aon Risk Reward Challenge and the $1 million prize.

Seven-figure checks remain rare in women’s golf. This year, seven will be given away, although the Aon prize is unofficial money.

Earlier this season, Lee, 26, won the US Women’s Open at Pine Needles for her second major title and a record $1.8 million salary. A two-time winner this season, Lee currently tops the earning list with $3,759,835.

Lee, who has already won the Rolex Annika Major Award, could actually enjoy the richest season in women’s golf history if she wins the $2 million prize this week at the CME Group Tour Championship. In fact, she could finish second ($687,000) and break Lorena Ochoa’s record of $4,354,994 set in 2007. Ochoa has won seven times this season, including a major.

“I haven’t really had time to go shopping yet,” Lee said when asked if she had splurged. “Maybe this week.”

While Lee started the year strong, she hasn’t had a top 10 since August. Currently No. 5 in the world, Lee sits one point behind Lydia Ko in the LPGA Player of the Year race, which carries the added bonus of a Hall of Fame point.

Lee played both events in Asia, but skipped last week’s Pelican LPGA Championship. After such a great start to 2022, Lee said she’s learning to cool off.

“Probably the last few weeks I haven’t really been on top of my game,” she said. “I was hitting it so well come, what, like eight, nine months throughout the year. I probably haven’t hit it as well or put it as well in the past two weeks, but this is the last event of the season, of the LPGA season. I really want to do well.

The Aon Risk Reward Challenge offers a $1 million prize to winners on the LPGA and PGA Tour. Scottie Scheffler won the men’s race earlier this season.

One of the LPGA’s top ball-strikers, Lee has added length to her game in recent years, and she’s gone green on challenge holes 58% of the time, compared to a tour average of 32%. . The race compiles the top two scores on the designated challenge holes of each event a player participates in. Players must participate in a minimum of 40 rounds throughout the season to qualify.

“It’s life-changing money for Aon,” Lee said, “and it’s really great for the Women’s Tour and the LPGA. It’s a great opportunity for us on both tours to be placed on the same plane.

Lee is the second consecutive Australian to win the title, after Hannah Green. Spaniard Carlota Ciganda won the first Aon race.

Jennifer Bell, CEO of Aon, North America, said she hopes what they are doing to support the LPGA on equal terms with the men’s tour will inspire other companies to do the same.

“In order to make sure we get gender equity and elevate the LPGA Tour and the players to the level of compensation they should, I always say, ‘What does your company do? “” Bell said.

“It’s interesting because it puts the pressure on, so it’s more of an influence than anything else. I hope that makes a difference.