Min Woo Lee matches Minjee with ISPS Handa Vic Open title at 13th Beach Golf Links

2020 ISPS Handa Vic Open winner Min Woo Lee at 13th Beach Golf Links
Min Woo Lee, who claimed his first European Tour victory in just his 19th start in the ISPS Handa Vic Open, joined sister Minjee Lee, who has won the women’s title at 13th Beach Golf Links twice in the last six years. Picture by GETTY IMAGES

MIN Woo Lee made history as he stormed to his first European Tour victory at the ISPS Handa Vic Open, on the same golf course where his sister won her first professional title six years ago.

Lee joined his older sister Minjee on the roll of honour at 13th Beach Golf Links with a final round of 68 to become the first brother and sister to claim the same title.

The 2016 US Junior Amateur Champion finished two strokes ahead of New Zealander Ryan Fox on 19-under par thanks to his final round of four-under.

Min Woo Lee said: “My sister and I winning the same tournament, it’s pretty special. I’ve got bragging rights now so it’s even better.”

Sister Minjee who finished two shots off a play-off in the women’s event, added: “I was super, super proud of him.

“It was really cool to just even be here with him, and even watch him the last two holes.

“Just to see him play, I haven’t really seen him play that much, so to be able to have a win here is really cool.”

And Min Woo Lee was equally happy. “I’m pretty proud of the way I played,” he said clutching the trophy.

“I thought coming in I had a really good chance because I was hitting it really good.

“But I think I impressed myself with the game this whole week. Hopefully I’ll have more of these over my whole career.

“I felt really comfortable just because if I did exactly the same as I did yesterday, I felt pretty hard to stop.

“I started off really hot out the gate and was pretty comfortable those last few holes. I got a bit nervy, but I’m pretty proud of the way I finished.

“I hit one shot at a time. It’s a cliché, but it’s just that,” added Lee “You can’t really worry about anything else.

“I hit it so well, I’d give myself nine-out-of-10 for ball-striking this week,” said the new champion, who admitted his sister’s two Vic Open victories had driven him on all week in a show of sibling rivalry.

“Coming into today I knew I could just stay calm and just hit every shot the same as the last three days.

“I was pretty calm until, you know, the last hole. I wasn’t nervous, just on my toes a little bit.

“I thought it’s a par five, straight downwind, the ball’s not going to curve much off the tee – stripe one down and I thought I had it in the bag from there.”

Minjee won the women’s ISPS Handa Vic Open – which has been played concurrently at Barwons Head for the last eight years – as an amateur in 2014.

She claimed the USGA Girls title in 2012, and they were the first brother and sister to claim the USGA junior championships.

It was two years ago this week that Lee gave the world notice of his talent by reaching the quarter-finals of the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth as an amateur.

He only just missed out on keeping his tour card at the end of 2019 having made back-to-back top fives early in the season after his debut in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Lee picked up a cheque for €162,915 as the winner and moved to 41st on the Race to Duba.

•For full results in the Vic Open click here.

2019 ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit winner Ryan Fox, from New Zealand
Order of Merit winner Ryan Fox believes his final round 64 was the best so far of his career

Fox run for 2nd title – ‘best golf yet’

RYAN Fox made his charge for a second European Tour victory on the back nine in the ISPS Handa Vic Open.

The Kiwi birdied the 16th hole and carded his second eagle of the day on the 18th for an eight-under par 64, setting the clubhouse target at 17-under.

Min Woo Lee – making just his 19th European Tour appearance since turning pro at the start of 2019 – started the day three strokes clear of playing partners Marcus Fraser and Travis Smyth.

Twenty-one-year-old Lee, who won seven amateur titles in Australia between 2013 and 2018, showed no sign of nerves as he birded three of his first four holes, including a chip-in on the first.

The Australian maintained his composure as winds gusted up to 30mph on the Bellarine Peninsula, with 10 consecutive pars before his fourth birdie of the day on the 15th hole.

Lee dropped to 18-under with a bogey on the 17th, but finished with aplomb as he birdied the 18thh for a tournament-record score of 19-under par – and a special victory on home soil.

Fox, who won the ISPS Handa World Super 6 in Perth last year – and claimed the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit in 2019 – said: “That was probably the best round I’ve played in a tournament.

“I would not have thought 64 was out there at the start of the day. I think the only saving grace with this wind direction is you either play a hole straight down or straight into.

“I made a couple of eagles, which was nice. I hit a lot of shots inside of 15‑feet and made a couple of those, which is not really what you expect to do.

“I never really felt like I was under any pressure out there which, in conditions like this, that’s always nice.

Frenchman Robin Sciot-Siegrist matched Lee’s final round of 68 to finish in a share of third place with Australians Fraser and Smyth on 14 under, while Jake McLeod took sixth place on 12-under.

Challenge Tour graduate Sciot-Siegrist said: “I think I learned from yesterday. I thought I got angry quite quick.

“The conditions were tough and I think today I tried to keep it cooler and things went my way. It was a great day, I’m happy to finish on that.

“Two top 10 in four tournaments, I’m really happy. I’m happy to put points really quickly on the board, because I need them.”

Manchester’s Florida-based pro Sam Horsfield, who was in the first group of the day with Geoff Ogilvy, and women’s competitor Peiyun Chen, moved to seventh on 11-under, alongside fellow European Tour member Sami Valimaki, from Finland.

•Minjee Lee, who won her second women’s ISPS Handa Vic Open title in 2018, finished two strokes behind Hee Young Park, who overcame Hye-Jin Choi and So Yeun Ryu in a four-hole play-off to win her first LPGA title in more than six years.

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