Australia’s young sensation Min Woo Lee has logged his first-ever top-five finish in a professional tournament with second, consecutive 63 in the Saudi International on the European Tour.
Lee, 20, a member of Golf Australia’s rookie squad of talented, young pros, backed up his Saturday seven-under with another sensational round to finish outright fourth behind American former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
It was just his second start as a professional, having turned professional on 12 January and picked up sponsor’s invitations to play in Dubai (where he missed the cut) and King Abdullah City in Saudi Arabia.
Lee earned 152,000 Euro for his finish, equating to $240,000, with rounds of 69-70-63-63 to be 15-under par, four shots behind Johnson. He began the final day by going out in 31 shots, made a bogey from behind the green at the par-four 12th, then birdied the final two holes for his brilliant seven-under 63.
It opens up all sorts of options for the Royal Fremantle member, who graduated from the elite programs of Golf Western Australia and Golf Australia to win a US junior championship and represent Australia, following in the footsteps of his elder sister Minjee, who is one of the best women’s players in the world.
Lee has limited status on the Web.com Tour and intends taking up starts on that tour in a bid to push his way on to the US PGA Tour. But with so many points in the European Tour’s season-long Race to Dubai already, he will almost certainly be tempted to play some more European events to try to play his way on to that tour as Lucas Herbert did last year.
After Sunday night’s round he said he had admitted he was “super-proud’’ of his efforts on such a big stage.
“I didn’t know what to expect today,” he said. “I just knew that I had to keep my head in the game, really, and hit every shot really fully committed. I’m happy that I did.
“I know those guys are superstars. I just said, play my own game, and I’m glad I posted a good score. I’m just happy with my second start as a pro.’’
Lee heads to Panama this week for a Web.com Tour start. “This is a big step,’’ he said. “It’s the best finish I’ve had as a pro I’m pretty sure, and to do it on a big stage against big players, it’s awesome.’’