LPGA Tour Golf
It was a happy birthday indeed for Minjee Lee as she broke her LPGA Tour title drought just four days out from the US Women's Open.
The Australian celebrated her 22nd birthday in style by birdieing the last hole to win the LPGA Tour's Volvik Championhip by one shot in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Sunday.
Lee fired a closing four-under-par 68 and clinched a thrilling victory from South Korea's In-Kyung Kim (67) at Travis Pointe Country Club.
The former teen prodigy won three times on the LPGA Tour before the age of 20 but she had gone 38 LPGA starts since winning her fourth and most recent title at the 2016 Blue Bay Championship.
Her breakthough on Sunday came at the same event where she finished tied second, one shot behind Shanshan Feng last year.
The victory was worth $US195,000 ($A258,000) to Lee and takes her season earnings to $US628,726, moving her up to fourth on both the LPGA money list and the season-long points race.
It could hardly have been better timed for her confidence, with the year's biggest event, the $US5 million US Women's Open, starting on Thursday at Shoal Creek Country Club in Alabama.
Never one to give much away in interviews, Lee played down the significance of the timing.
"Next week is going to be a totally different week," she said.
"I know I am hitting it pretty solid and putting solid so hopefully I will have a great week."
Overnight leader Lee turned up the pressure on herself when, after 38 successive holes without a bogey, she three-putted for bogey on the 17th hole, dropping into a tie with Kim.
Needing a birdie to win on the 18th, a reachable par 5, her second shot landed a few feet to the right of the green, and she calmly chipped to about one metre from the pin then holed out to triumph at 16 under.
Kim had shot a 32 on the back nine and also birdied the 18th.
Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn (65) was third at 14 under while Australian Su Oh (68) returned to form with a tie for fourth place, three shots behind Lee.
Of the other Australians, Sarah Jane Smith finished 32nd, while rookie Hannah Green was 63rd.