Minjee Lee wins Aon, collects another seven-figure check. She could enjoy richest season in LPGA history with strong week at CME

NAPLES, Florida – Minjee Lee collected 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 handed out, though the Aon prize is unofficial money.

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

Lee, who already clinched the Rolex Annika Major Award, could actually enjoy the richest season in the history of women’s golf, should she win this week’s $2 million prize at the CME Group Tour Championship. Actually, she could finish second ($687,000) and still beat Lorena Ochoa’s record of $4,354,994 set in 2007. Ochoa won seven times that season, including one major.

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

While Lee started the year off 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 strong start to 2022, Lee said she’s learning how to refresh.

“Probably the last few weeks, I haven’t really been quite on top of my game,” she said. “I was striking it so well come, what, like eight, nine months throughout the year. Probably didn’t hit it as well or putted it as well the last couple of 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 both the LPGA and PGA Tours. Scottie Scheffler clinched the men’s race earlier this season.

One of the best ball-strikers on the LPGA, Lee has added length to her game in recent years, and she went for the green on the challenge holes 58 percent of the time compared to a tour average of 32 percent. The race tabulates the two best scores on the designated challenge holes from every participating event a player competes in. Players must compete in a minimum of 40 rounds throughout the season to qualify.

“It’s quite life-changing money that Aon puts up,” said Lee, “and it’s really great for the women’s tour and the LPGA. It’s a great opportunity for us on both tours just to be put on kind of the same plane.”

Lee is the second consecutive Aussie to win the title, following Hannah Green. Spain’s Carlota Ciganda won the first Aon race.

Jennifer Bell, Aon’s chief executive officer, North America, said she hopes what they’re doing to support the LPGA equally with the men’s tour will influence other firms to do the same.

“In order to make sure that we’re getting gender equity and making sure that we lift the LPGA Tour and the players up to get to the level of pay that they should, I always say, ‘What is your firm doing?'” said Bell.

“It’s interesting because it puts the pressure, so it’s more of an influence than anything. Hopefully it’s making a difference.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek