17 Jan 2022 | Professional golf |
Lee already eyeing Australian PGA redemption
by PGA of Australia
By Tony Webeck
His year will include visits to Pebble Beach, Augusta National and St Andrews but Min Woo Lee is already eyeing off a return to Royal Queensland Golf Club for the 2022 Fortinet Australian PGA Championship.
Following a stunning 12 months in which he climbed inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Lee was the star attraction for a tournament missing many of Australian golf’s more familiar faces.
The records will show he finished the week in a very respectable tie for fourth, his near ace at the par-3 17th on Saturday and almost walk-off eagle at the 18th on Sunday now embedded in the memories of those who were witness.
In his first tournament in six weeks it was the putter that let Lee down on the immaculate Royal Queensland putting surfaces but even a flatstick running red hot may not have reeled in runaway champion Jed Morgan.
The 23-year-old will now leave Australian shores to begin his DP World Tour season in Abu Dhabi next week followed by the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am starting February 3.
Switching between the DP World Tour and PGA TOUR will be part of Lee’s year as he targets golf’s biggest events but he also hinted that he would be back later in 2022 for the Australian PGA which will return to the DP World Tour schedule.
“I guess it wasn’t the best week golf-wise, but I think I got a lot of positives out of it,” Lee reflected after signing for a closing three-under 68 on Sunday and nine-under total.
“Probably one of my best strokes gained approach this week and driving was unbelievable so just got to work on my putting and could have been a much lower score.
“Hopefully I can get out at the end of the year when I come back.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do this week, but approach play, I kind of just started where I left off, so it was really good.
“I just need to keep fresh for the next few weeks. I’ve got Abu Dhabi, then a week off and then I’m going to go to America and play Pebble Beach, so that should be cool and special.”
‘Cool and special’ might just be the theme of Lee’s year ahead.
He has received an invitation to play The Masters for the first time in April, he is exempt into the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews in July and will have his pick of the biggest and best events on both sides of the Atlantic.
“I think I’ll work around my schedule on the PGA TOUR, but if not DP World Tour’s still going to be there,” Lee added.
“It’s going to be big events, Rolex Series events on the DP, so I’m excited for them. But I’ll probably be more in America.
“All these courses are going to be pretty new to me, so I’m going to embrace it.
“But you’ve still got to hit your shots and hopefully I play well and get the results.”
As for Royal Queensland’s conqueror this week, Lee was full of praise for another Aussie star on the rise.
“Home club, in front of his home crowd too, it’s pretty special,” Lee said of Morgan’s 11-stroke victory.
“I’ve got to speak on the Queensland crowd as well; it was amazing to have so many people out.
“I wasn’t leading or anything, but just for them to come out… There was hundreds of people watching.
“It hasn’t usually been my crowd, so it was nice to have them out and supporting me.
“But Jed, to shoot 22-under around here and the wind’s getting up, it’s pretty good.”
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