Perth’s Min Woo Lee has enhanced his standing as one of world golf’s most electrifying players with a three-stroke win at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship.
Lee bounced back from an early bogey to close out his win with a three-under par round of 68 and 20-under-par total at Royal Queensland Golf Club. It was enough to grant him a three-stroke victory over Japan’s Rikuya Hoshino.
Victorian Marc Leishman birdied his final two holes to claim outright third with Lee’s good friend and fellow West Australian, Curtis Luck, playing the back nine in 4-under for a round of 69 and fourth spot.
“I’ve always thought I could win, but it took a while to get over the hump,” Lee said on the 18th green. “But two wins in the last month or so, I’m really proud of my team and myself.”
Projected to elevate Lee to a career-high of No.38 on the Official World Golf Ranking, the win is Lee’s second on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia and third on the DP World Tour.
The crucial moment of the final round was Lee’s sensational pitch-in eagle from 55 metres at the par-five ninth, which moved him back to three strokes clear after Hoshino’s determined bid to reel him in over the opening holes.
“That was probably the best atmosphere shot I’ve ever hit,” Lee added. “I’ve had a few chip-ins, but at that point, it was getting close and I was in a pretty average position after the tee shot. So to chip that in, it was amazing.”
As well as having his name carved on the Joe Kirkwood Cup, Lee’s victory earned him $340,000 and he has springboarded to the top of the PGA Tour of Australasia’s Order of Merit. View highlights of the final round below.
Luck sends reminder of innate talent
In a field packed with household names, WA’s Curtis Luck also enjoyed a standout week as he fired four rounds in the 60s to finish outright fourth and pocket $100,000.
Buoyed by a hole-in-one during his second round, Luck – a regular on the American Korn Ferry Tour, who GolfWA tipped for a good week here – made the most of a rare Australian outing to remind the watching world of the innate talent that once took him to the top of the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
Elsewhere in the field, Connor McKinney was the next best of the WA contingent in a tie for 29th at -6 after a disappointing closing 73. Hayden Hopewell, Brett Rumford and Scott Strange were a shot further back in T33rd, while Haydn Barron and Jason Scrivener also played all four rounds.
The event was also notable for Cam Smith’s ineffectual attempt to defend his title. The LIV Golf superstar missed the cut after rounds of 73 and 78 left him at +9 for the championship. Only six golfers in the 155-man field finished below him. View the final event standings here.
Attention now turns to the ISPS HANDA Australian Open in NSW. The combined men’s and women’s event has a prize fund of $3,400,000, with Min Woo and sister Minjee Lee the headline acts. View the men’s field here and the women’s field here.
Image credits: Australian Golf Media