Min Woo draws positives from PGA Championship finish

20th May 2024

Min Woo Lee PGA Championship

Min Woo Lee believes he is a step closer to a major championship breakthrough after finishing as the leading Aussie at the US PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.

American Xander Schauffele had to birdie the 72nd hole to earn his maiden Major victory with a record score of 21-under par, edging Bryson DeChambeau by a single stroke in a nerve-shredding finish.

Shauffele’s tee shot at the par-5 18th came so close to the fairway bunker that he was forced to play his second shot with both feet in the sand. An awkward 7-iron from 247 yards hooked into the fairway 36 yards short of the green, his subsequent pitch coming up six feet short of the hole.

As DeChambeau thundered driver swings on the practice range in preparation of a possible three-hole playoff, Schauffele stepped in and found enough of the left edge of the hole to make birdie and join the pantheon of Major champions.

Although he ultimately finished 12 strokes off Schauffele’s winning total, 25-year-old Royal Fremantle product Lee left Valhalla feeling confident that he remains on the right trajectory to join the list of Major winners in the future.

“Definitely trending in the right direction,” Lee told the PGA of America after a round of 4-under 67 that elevated him into a tie for 26th. “I feel like I’m slowly becoming a better player. I left some out there but that’s just how it is. I think we can learn from that; solid week.”

Despite a red-hot short game – highlighted by three chip-ins during an electric second-round 66 – Lee was left to lament a 57% driving accuracy that restricted his birdie chances throughout the week.

Min Woo Lee PGA

Min Woo’s lack of driving accuracy hampered him at the PGA Championship


“My driving wasn’t too good the last couple of days,” he admitted. “If my driving’s up to scratch then I can definitely attack and make some more birdies. I thought I did pretty good with my recovery the last few days, very happy.”

Lee’s T26th finish earned him approximately AU$170,000 and he was able to claim local bragging rights after finishing as the top Australian in the field.

Although tied for 16th through three rounds and chasing a first top-10 finish in a major, Lucas Herbert was on the back foot early with a double-bogey at the first, falling to a tie for 43rd alongside Jason Day. Cam Smith had six bogeys and four birdies in a closing 73 that saw him drop to T63rd.

A version of this article first appeared on the PGA of Australia website.

Images: Getty Images

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