Andrea Lee is a winner on the LPGA Tour.
The 24-year-old Lee, from Hermosa Beach and Stanford, closed with a 6-under-par 66 to edge Daniela Darquea of Ecuador by one stroke in the AmazingCre Portland Classic at Colombia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Ore.
“It’s more than anything I could have imagined,” said Lee, who battled back after losing her LPGA Tour card last season. “I cannot believe it. All the hard work has paid off. It’s been my dream to win on the LPGA Tour, and the fact that I accomplished that today is just pretty surreal. Some of the past champions (of the Portland Classic) are legends of the game. … I’m extremely honored to join that list of names.
“My junior career and my amateur career have always been kind of smooth sailing, I would say. I kind of expected a lot out of myself coming into the LPGA and turning professional. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do really well right off the bat. That wasn’t the case at all; 2020 was a decent year, but then 2021 was a struggle. … I just learned from all those experiences last year, and I really have grown as a golfer and I’m really proud of the way that I managed to use all those experiences to get that win today.”
Lee, he former top-ranked amateur in the world who won nine times at Stanford and claimed her first pro victory in the Casino Del Sol Golf Classic on the Epsom Tour earlier this year to get back to the LPGA Tour, made bogeys on the second and third holes before collecting eight birdies the rest of the way in her 66 to finish at 19-under 269.
Darquea, whose only pro victory came in the 2017 IOA Championship on what was then the Symetra Tour, had four birdies on the front nine and birdied the last three in a row to post another 66, but fell barely short.
“It was rough at the beginning of the year, losing the card, going back to Epson,” said Darquea, who won 11 times as an amateur. “I know I have the game to be here. I just need to keep the mental game going as it is.”
Lilia Vu of Fountain Valley and UCLA birdied three of the last three holes to cap a 68 and was one shot back in a tie for third with Esther Henseleit of Germany, who made four straight birdies on the front nine in a 68; Narin An of South Korea, who made an eagle on the seventh hole in a bogey-free 64; 2019 champion Hannah Green of Australia, who opened the back nine with three consecutive birdies in a 67, and Ayaka Furue of Japan, who eagled No. 10 in her 68.
Maja Stark of Sweden made five straight birdies on the front nine en route to a 66 and was three down in eighth, followed by Ryann O’Toole of San Clemente and UCLA, who was one more back in ninth after carding five birdies in a 68.
Brooke Henderson of Canada, who won the tournament in 2015 and 2016, eagled the seventh hole in a 67 and finished five strokes behind in a tie for 10th with Weiwei Zhang of China, who had eight birdies in a 66; Frida Kinhult of Sweden, who made three birdies on the back nine in a 68, and Paula Reto of South Africa, who had three birdies on the back nine in a 70.
Previous winners of the Portland Classic, which dates to 1972, include Kathy Whitworth, JoAnne Carner, Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam of Sweden, Betsy King, Donna Caponi, Judy Rankin, Juli Inkster, Amy Alcott, Patty Sheehan, Dottie Pepper, Donna Andrews, Suzann Pettersen of Norway, Christie Kerr, Lorena Ochoa of Mexico, Mika Miyazato of Japan, Pat Hurst and Muffin Spencer-Devlin.
For complete results, visit https://www.lpga.com/tournaments/portland-classic/results