Australia’s Min Woo Lee produced a spectacular finish to claim a three-shot lead in the ISPS Handa Australian Open as he pursues a memorable double on home soil.
Lee, who won the Australian PGA Championship last week, carded a superb 64 at The Australian Golf Club, covering his last eight holes in six under par to get to 12 under.
The 25-year-old birdied the 11th, 12th, 14th and 16th before ending his round in style with an eagle on the last, hitting a 190-yard nine iron from the pine straw under a tree to within two feet of the pin.
“[I was] a bit lucky off the tee shot on 18,” Lee admitted. “I pulled it, but I smoked it, so I knew I had a chance of carrying that bunker.
“Ended up in the nice pine straw out there and had a really good number for a nine iron, like a really big nine iron and I’ve been hitting draws all week and it kind of sat up really nicely.
“I saw the coverage and it spun left towards the hole and nearly actually went in, so really happy with that finish. It’s always nice to make an eagle whenever, but on the last hole it’s even nicer.”
Scotland’s Connor Syme and American Patrick Rodgers are Lee’s nearest challengers on nine under par after both added rounds of 70 to their opening 64s.
The ISPS Handa Australian Open brings together three separate competitions, with the men’s and women’s events and the Australian All Abilities Championship being contested at the same time.
In the women’s event, 2013 champion Jiyai Shin holds a two-shot lead over defending champion Ashleigh Buhai, while Ireland’s Brendan Lawlor shares the lead with home favourites Cameron Pollard and Lachlan Wood in the All Abilities Championship on one over.
“To be honest, this is number one for me on my schedule,” Lawlor, who won the inaugural G4D Open at Woburn earlier this year, said.
“It’s a fully inclusive event. We’re playing at the very same times as the main guys. We have full access to player lounges, practice rounds and whatever we want.
“When the guys market all abilities, all inclusive, that’s exactly what it is and it’s a joy for me to come back here.”