Mi Hyang Lee’s trip to Scotland started just as it began last year.
This week, the defending champion arrived at Gullane Golf Club, host of this week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, without her golf clubs or the bags containing her clothes. It’s the second straight year Lee’s luggage hasn’t made the trip across the pond.
But the snafu didn’t hold her back from winning last year, when she come from nine-strokes back on the weekend to secure her second victory on the LPGA Tour. In fact, it wasn’t until after her victory on Sunday that she revealed her clubs hadn’t arrived until Wednesday and she’d played a practice round with a rented set.
This time around, Lee caught a break. Tuesday, she was fortunate to borrow a set of Callaway irons that the company representative just happened to have brought on the trip in hopes of playing later this week.
“His clubs are a perfect fit for me,” said Lee, whose clubs arrived with her clothing on Wednesday morning. “Driver distance is the same as mine. I played 18 holes with his clubs yesterday and I played nine holes this morning with my clubs.”
The lucky break is a welcome change for Lee, who returns to Scotland searching for some good vibes. She spent the last three weeks away from the Tour in preparation for her title defense after missing the cut in her last six starts. Lee has a single top 10 in 2018.
“My golf is not as good as last year,” Lee told the media. “I just want to restart from this tournament because I have such great memories from this tournament. My goal is to restart and refresh from this tournament.”
The fresh start begins with a new track, Gullane Golf Club, which hosted the men’s Scottish Open two-weeks ago. Lee got her first look at the course Sunday morning when she walked the track with her caddie and realized the significant difference in elevation compared to where she won last year at Dundonald Links Golf Course.
“Feels like more of a mountain course,” Lee said about this year’s venue. “Last year, everything was flatter and greens are flat. But here, some holes I can’t see the green and some holes are just way up or way down.”
Another welcome change comes in the form of a new leaderboard. A manual leaderboard has been added to the 18th fairway for this year's championship. Last year, there was no leaderboard on the 18th hole. When Lee arrived at the 72nd hole ahead of leader Karrie Webb, who made bogey, double-bogey over her closing stretch, Lee didn’t know she was leading the championship and headed for the shuttle to take her to her next stop at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
“We didn’t know we won. We didn’t know that Karrie made double-bogey on 17,” Lee explained. “My caddie said he thought it might be a tied score, the lead or just maybe one back behind from Karrie.”
Lee was glad she stuck around to hoist the trophy for her first victory on Tour in three years.
“I love to be back here and really look forward to playing this week,” Lee said. “Feels everything is the same and I love links course.”
After starting her week just as she did last year, Lee is optimistic it will end the same way, too.
“The players told me yeah, you can win again,” Lee said. “Hopefully, I have luck with that.”