Once burdened by the expectations, Minjee Lee is learning to live with the pressure of being the world’s best women’s golfer yet to win a major.
The world No.8 will spearhead Australia’s six-strong challenge at the women’s US Open starting in Houston on Friday and confesses to being eager to shake the monkey off her back.
Despite being a top-10 mainstay for years, Lee has yet to take the leap to major glory.
But the West Australian has enjoyed her best season at the sport’s biggest five events this year, sharing seventh place at the ANA Inspiration and then finishing third at the British Open at Royal Troon.
The 24-year-old says she’s finally feeling comfortable on golf’s biggest stages and hopes to contend once again this weekend at Cypress Creek and Jackrabbit, the two courses sharing US Open hosting rights.
“The pressure is more from me giving it to myself,” Lee told AAP on Thursday.
“I put myself under so much pressure that I want to perform.
“Obviously I want to do well in majors and every event that I go into. Eespecially the US Open I want to play well. Obviously that’s on my mind.
“I just try to keep relaxed and have a good conversation with my caddie and take it one shot at a time.
“It has been better over the year, getting a little more used to having that kind of mindset going into majors.”
Lee knows the pressure will remain until she breaks through on the big stage and she’s fine with that.
“It depends on which way you look at it. You can look at it as motivation or it could really put you down,” said the one-time world No.2.
“That little bit of pressure is more motivation for me now that I know how to handle it. I need it a little bit.”
A winner at last month’s Dubai Moonlight Classic and sixth on the LPGA Tour’s money list this season, Lee is optimistic about her Open chances.
“I’m feeling pretty good. I like both of the courses,” she said.
“They’re second-shot golf courses and my ball striking’s been good and I’m really looking forward to the week actually.”
Tipping even par may be good enough to win, Lee is joined in the field by fellow Australians Hannah Green, the 2019 US PGA champion, Katherine Kirk, Su Oh, Sarah Jane Smith and amateur star Gabriela Ruffels.
AUSSIE TEE TIMES FOR FIRST ROUND OF THE WOMEN’S US OPEN STARTING IN TEXAS ON FRIDAY AEDT:
2.53am: Katherine Kirk (Cypress Creek), Sarah Jane Smith (Cypress Creek)
3.15am: Su Oh (Cypress Creek)
3.37am: Minjee Lee (Jackrabbit), Gabriela Ruffels (Cypress Creek)
3.48am: Hannah Green (Cypress Creek)