06 Jul 2022 | Professional golf |
Aussies On Tour: Min Woo Lee steps up for Scottish defence
by PGA of Australia
By Tony Webeck
West Australian Min Woo Lee will this week defend a PGA TOUR title for the first time, only it wasn’t a PGA TOUR event when he won it.
This week’s Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club is a tournament with some very real and some symbolic implications.
It is the first traditional DP World Tour event to be granted co-sanctioning with the PGA TOUR as part of the strengthened allegiance between the two organisations.
Thirty years since Peter O’Malley finished eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle to win at Gleneagles, it sees the likes of Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman add their names to a field bursting with the best players in the world all adjusting their games to links golf ahead of the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews next week.
When Lee triumphed in a playoff over US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Thomas Detry he bested a field that boasted Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Xander Schaueffle, Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns, a veritable PGA TOUR-quality field without the accompanying perks.
“It's an awesome, obviously, alliance they brought together. Obviously I wish it was a year before, but hopefully I can recreate what I did last year,” Lee said of the PGA TOUR status now bestowed on the Scottish Open.
Although he doesn’t have a full card on the PGA TOUR, the 23-year-old has spent the majority of 2022 plying his trade in the US.
Currently No.69 in the world, Lee’s Scottish Open win helped to elevate him into the top 50 in the world, opening the door to play more in the US.
An equal record front nine on Sunday saw Lee finish tied for 14th at The Masters and his education in major championship golf continued with a share of 27th at the US Open.
While he is without a top-10 finish yet this season, Lee believes the exposure to tough American set-ups is advancing his game in the right direction.
“I feel like my game has improved from playing in America,” said Lee, who has been paired with JP McManus Pro-Am winner Xander Schauffele and local hope Robert MacIntyre for the first two rounds.
“Courses are tough over there and I've been playing really good and been able to lock in a little bit and feel like every week I'm learning something new.”
As for the enormity of next week’s historic Open Championship, Lee concedes that it is impossible to ignore.
“The next few tournaments are really, really important to me,” he added.
“Obviously next week is a major and this week is defending.
“It's a big event on The European Tour. The field's very strong and you just need to do well and for me, I need to do well the next two weeks.
“I mean, next week is obviously the important one but I take these two with really good care.”
There is a concurrent PGA TOUR event being played in Kentucky this week where former champion Aaron Baddeley will lead the Aussie charge at the Barbasol Championship while Mark Hensby will be eager to continue his outstanding form in the senior majors at the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship in Ohio.
Top-10 at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship and tied for fourth at the US Senior Open, Hensby has climbed to 26th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings and will be joined at Firestone Country Club by Robert Allenby, David McKenzie, Rod Pampling, John Senden and Kiwi Steven Alker.
Whitney Hillier has been joined by fellow Aussie and LPGA Tour veteran Sarah Kemp at the Estrella Damm Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour and Grace Kim is one of five Australians in action at the Epson Tour’s Twin Bridges Championship. Round 1 tee times AEST
DP World Tour Genesis Scottish Open The Renaissance Club, North Berwick, Scotland 4.25pm Jason Scrivener, Chris Kirk, David Lipsky 4.45pm Scott Hend, Brandon Wu, Andy Sullivan 5.15pm* Cameron Smith, Jordan Spieth, Tyrrell Hatton 5.45pm Lucas Herbert, Dylan Fritelli, Sami Valimaki 9.55pm Ryan Fox, Billy Horschel, Sungjae Im 10.05pm Min Woo Lee, Xander Schauffele, Robert MacIntyre 10.25pm* Marc Leishman, Lucas Glover, John Catlin 11.45pm Maverick Antcliff, Stephan Jaeger, Wil Besseling Defending champion: Min Woo Lee Past Aussie winners: Graham Marsh (1973), Craig Parry (1991), Peter O’Malley (1992), Wayne Riley (1995), Min Woo Lee (2021) Top Aussie prediction: Lucas Herbert TV times: Live 5pm-3.30am Thursday, Friday on Fox Sports 503; Live 9pm-11pm Saturday on Fox Sports 505; Live 11pm-2.30am Saturday; Live 9pm-2.30am Sunday on Fox Sports 503. PGA TOUR Barbasol Championship Keene Trace Golf Club, Nicholasville, Kentucky 9.29pm Aaron Baddeley, Ricky Barnes, Lucas Bjerregaard 10.46pm Brett Drewitt, David Skinns, Gunner Wiebe 2.10am Cameron Percy, James Hahn, Benjamin Hebert 3.27am* Greg Chalmers, Fabián Gómez, Yannik Paul 3.38am* Josh Geary, Ted Potter Jr, Austin Cook Defending champion: Seamus Power Past Aussie winners: Aaron Baddeley (2016) Top Aussie prediction: Aaron Baddeley TV times: Live 6am-9am Friday, Saturday; Live 5am-8am Sunday; Live 4am-6am Monday on Fox Sports 503. Ladies European Tour Estrella Damm Ladies Open Club de Golf Terramar, Barcelona, Spain 4.41pm Whitney Hillier, Marianne Skarpnord, Nuria Iturrioz 5.36pm Sarah Kemp, Anne-Lise Caudal, Jenny Haglund Defending champion: Maja Stark Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Whitney Hillier TV times: Live 10pm Saturday on Fox Sports +; Live 11pm Sunday on Fox Sports 505. Challenge Tour Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge Golf PGA France du Vaudreuil, Le Vaudreuil, France 5.40pm* Daniel Hillier, Alejandro Del Rey, Stuart Manley 6.20pm Jarryd Felton, Timon Baltl, Anton Karlsson 11.40pm* Austin Bautista, Paul Foulquie, Tarik Aslan Defending champion: Marcel Siem Past Australasian winners: Ryan Fox (2015) Top Aussie prediction: Jarryd Felton Epson Tour Twin Bridges Championship Pinehaven Country Club, Albany, New York Australasians in the field: Grace Kim, Amelia Garvey, Hira Naveed, Gabriela Ruffels, Stephanie Na, Emily Mahar Defending champion: Lilia Vu Past Aussie winners: Breanna Elliott (2015), Sarah-Jane Smith (2008) Champions Tour Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship Firestone Country Club, Akron, Ohio Australasians in the field: Steven Alker, Robert Allenby, Mark Hensby, David McKenzie, Rod Pampling, John Senden Defending champion: Steve Stricker Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Mark Hensby TV times: Live 3.30am-6am Friday, Saturday; Live 2.30am-6am Sunday; Live 2.30am-5am Monday on Fox Sports 503. Legends Tour Swiss Seniors Open Golf Club Bad Ragaz, Bad Ragaz, Switzerland Australasians in the field: Michael Campbell, Peter Fowler, Michael Long Defending champion: Jose Coceres (2019) Past Aussie winners: Bob Shearer (1999), Terry Gale (2005), Peter Fowler (2011) To Aussie prediction: Peter Fowler
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