Min Woo Lee was content to pick the positives out of an impressive week after finishing tied for third at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Wellington.
The 19-year-old had led at the halfway stage, to be in pole position to claim the winner’s ticket to next year’s Masters and Open Championship, but back-to-back rounds of 71 saw him slip back.
China’s Yuxin Lin claimed the win, seven strokes ahead of Lee, who strained at the chain to try and bridge the gap over the final round but ultimately could not find the required momentum to make a concerted challenge.
“You want to win but the way I played I think third is a good result,” Lee told Golf Australia.
“Me and my coach (and caddie Ritchie Smith) just talked about it – we didn’t really get anything going.
“Coming third and shooting seven-under, we don’t know how we did it. I’ll take that result.”
— Golf Australia (@GolfAust) October 29, 2017
After rating his third round on Saturday as ‘C Grade’, Lee was happier with today’s performance, declaring: “Maybe (today was a) B-minus. I did hit it good, I just didn’t get anything going the same as yesterday.
“I did hit it really good today. I hit it better off the tee I just didn’t roll any putts in.”
The 2016 US Junior Amateur champion had ominously closed to within three shots of the lead after a chip-in at the 10th.
After finishing his second round birdie-birdie-eagle the rest of the field knew full well Lee had it in him to make a late run, however, his need to attack the course proved his undoing at the reachable par-four 14th when Lee’s drive sprayed right and out of bounds.
“After that chip-in on 10 I definitely thought I was in it,” he said.
“I was still pretty far off and I ended up putting it in the water at 14. I just had to give it a go and hit driver off that tee but ended up in the water.
— Min Woo Lee (@Minwoo27Lee) October 29, 2017
“Things go that way. Big props to Yuxin and Andy they played great.
“Yuxin was awesome today. He hit the two best drives you could hit on 17 and 18 – it was a big win for him and hopefully he has fun at Augusta.”
Yuxin joined an impressive champions honour roll that includes Hideki Matsuyama and West Aussie Curtis Luck – who won the event last year – after a stunning finale.
The 17-year-old has been level with compatriot Andy Zhang heading to the 71st tee before finishing birdie-eagle – highlighted by a stunning five-iron to the last – to win by three shots at 14 under.
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