11 Apr 2022 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Min Woo's fabulous front nine

by Dane Heverin

Min Woo Lee showing his appreciation to the Sunday crowd at Augusta National.
Min Woo Lee showing his appreciation to the Sunday crowd at Augusta National.

Min Woo Lee did his best to entertain weary-eyed Australian golf fans waiting in anticipation for Cameron Smith to commence his final round on Monday morning as he tied the Augusta National front nine record with a stunning six-under par 30.

In front of the iconic Sunday crowds at The Masters for the first time, Lee rose to fourth on the leaderboard at one point courtesy of an eagle and four birdies on his bogey free front nine. 

It was a manic few hours for the West Australian who had some of the game’s longest hitters like Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson covered for distance off the tee, while also displaying his exemplary touch on the greens.

The 23-year-old was third in driving distance for the final round - with an average distance of 330 yards - and he was second in the putting statistics for the week - with an average of 1.50 putts per hole.

His combination of those skills was best on display when he eagled the 575 yard par-5 second despite his mind not totally being on the task at hand.

“It just happened so quick. Poor drive on 1, made a good 10-footer for par. Needed to go to the toilet. Smacked my drive. Ran to the bathroom. Got down there, and I hit an 8-iron in, which is unreal,” Lee said.

“Hit it just over the bunker, near those sprinklers just over the bunker, and it went to 3 feet. Then it happened really quick. Just nice -- hit really good shots on the front nine.”

It was a rollercoaster ride from there on as he closed out the front nine with four straight birdies before opening the back nine with four straight bogeys.

A bogey at 16 and a birdie 17 were the other coloured numbers on his card to finish two-under 70 for the round and a tie for 14th overall at two-over - just outside of the top-12 that gain automatic qualification for next year’s Masters.

“I had a lot of fun. It is a bit disappointing on the back nine, playing so good on the front, but it's tough. I would have taken under par,” Lee said.

“Coming into this week I wasn't, obviously, playing that well, so this place gets you on another level just because you're in front of millions of people and you need to play good. There's some demanding shots out here, and it makes you kind of reverse psychology and tell yourself you just have to commit to it. If you have a bad swing, you have a bad swing, but you just have to commit to every shot out here.

“I guess I didn't feel that good with the putter, and the last couple of weeks I think I gained strokes on the putter a lot. So really positive vibes there. I'll take a few weeks off now and work on a couple of things, but maybe a little celebratory drinks with the team tonight.”

The Asian Tour and Ladies European Tour mirrored The Webex Players Series this week with a mixed gender event in Thailand where Andrew Dodt was the best of the Australians finishing in a tie for 16th, while Travis Smyth also cracked the top-20. 

The Masters

Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia

Winner Scottie Scheffler    69-67-71-71—278  $US2.7m

T3      Cameron Smith 68-74-68-73—283          

T14     Min Woo Lee 73-75-72-70—290          

T30    Marc Leishman 73-75-71-74—293          

T46    Cam Davis      75-73-79-73—300

T48    Adam Scott    74-74-80-74—302

MC Lucas Herbert 74-76—150

Asian Tour and Ladies European Tour

Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup

Siam Country Club (Waterside Cse), Thailand

Winner Ratchanon Chantananuwat 63-70-70-65—268 Amateur

T16 Andrew Dodt 71-67-68-70—276 $9,937.50

T19 Travis Smyth 71-70-67-69—277 $8,687.50

T39 Josh Younger 73-69-68-70—280 $4,807.50

T44 Todd Sinnott 67-69-70-75—281 $4,140

MC Whitney Hillier 73-70—143

MC Jake Higginbottom 74-70—144

MC Scott Hend 75-73—148

MC Daniel Fox 73-78—151

PGA TOUR Canada

Q-School USA West 2

Soboba Springs GC, San Jacinto, California

T39Grant Booth 75-75-70-74—294

T88Lawry Flynn 75-72-87-76—310

WD Jeong In Park (a) 84-86—170

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