The 8 biggest winners from the U.S. Women’s Open

With the 77th U.S. Women's Open complete, it's time to take a look at the biggest winners of the week at Pine Needles.

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The 77th U.S. Women’s Open is complete, and what a week it was. There was no shortage of intrigue at Pine Needles, and in the end, it was Minjee Lee who bested a field of heavyweight contenders to claim a record-breaking victory.

Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to look back at the week that was and identify the biggest winners of the week.

1. Minjee Lee

Well, she won the tournament, and set records in the process, so it’s only fair she headlines the list of biggest winners. The win was Lee’s second on the LPGA this year — and her second major title in the last 11 months — and moves her to No. 3 in the Rolex Golf Ranking. She showcased ball-striking brilliance all week, and secured a statement win against the best players in the world. It would be a shock not to see her stick around as a top player in the game for a long time.

2. Mina Harigae

Harigae didn’t win at Pine Needles, but her week was still, quite literally, life-changing. The 32-year-old’s second-place finish netted her a cool $1 million and ensures that her finances will be set for many years to come. It’s easy to see why she had such a wide smile on her face walking off the 18th green on Sunday night.

3. Ingrid Lindblad

Lindblad might be an amateur, but she proved this week she can hang with the best pros in the game. The LSU product started the week with a 65 in Round 1, playing alongside fellow Swede Annika Sorenstam, and hung around for the rest of the championship to secure low-amateur honors. Another season in Baton Rouge is in the works for Lindblad as it stands now, but when she does decide to turn pro, a fine career lies ahead.

4. Women’s golf

Beyond the tournament itself, this was a big week for women’s golf as a whole. The purse was the largest in history, the ladies got to showcase their stuff on network TV, and it all went down in the most famous region in American golf. The stage was grand for women’s golf this week, and the product delivered.

5. Nelly Korda

Nelly is back, and her game looks as good as ever. In her first start since returning from surgery to repair a blood clot, Korda posted a T8 finish and fired three under-par rounds in the toughest tournament in golf. Not a bad return for the world No. 2.

6. Danielle Kang

Kang has looked out of sorts of late, and at Pine Needles, she revealed she’s been diagnosed with a tumor on her spine. Details were sparse about the severity of the ailment, but the revelation certainly put the triviality of golf into perspective. Despite dealing with the tumor, Kang made the cut and gutted her way through four rounds. Her toughness is admirable, and it deserves a tip of the cap. Here’s to hoping she can get healthy as soon as possible.

7. Michelle Wie West

Wie West did not make the cut at Pine Needles, but the week was a success for her for two reasons. One, she got a final curtain call in the Sandhills, just down the road from where she claimed her only major title. And two, because of the announcement of her initiative with LA Golf that will provide its LPGA players with a variety of off-the-course support. Her week at Pine Needles might’ve come to a premature end, but she left the property with her head held high knowing she’s leaving the LPGA Tour in a better spot than when she arrived.

8. Annika Sorenstam

Speaking of victory laps, Sorenstam got a farewell of her own at Pine Needles, the site of her 1996 U.S. Women’s Open title. The 51-year-old had a decent round on Thursday, posting a three-over 74 that gave her an outside shot at making the cut, but a Friday 81 assured that her week would end after just two rounds. Nevertheless, Sorenstam’s return to the LPGA Tour was filled with memorable moments, and provided the fans at Pine Needles the chance to say farewell to a golf legend.

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Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.