Min Woo Lee Serves Up A Victory At The Australian PGA Championship

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Min Woo Lee started celebrating his first Australian PGA Championship title on the next-to-last hole Sunday when he put on a chef’s hat and did a synchronized clap along with the boisterous crowd before jogging off to the 18th.

He narrowly missed par at the last but still closed with a 3-under 68 to finish 20 under for the tournament and a three-shot win over Japan’s Riyuka Hoshino, who also closed with 68.

Lee, who is ranked No. 45 and comes from Western Australia, has made “let him cook” his popular catch phrase.

And so, with a four-shot lead going into the final hole, he put on a chef’s hat and clapped his hands above his head in time with the crowd at the 17th, the so-called Party Hole at Royal Queensland Golf Club.

He also brought the crowd alive with a long chip for an eagle at the par-5 ninth.

“The best atmosphere shot I’ve ever hit,” Lee said. “That one, at that point, it was getting close.

“I was in a pretty average position. To chip that in — it was amazing. It’s one of the best shots I’ve probably hit.”

Lee had a wire-to-wire win in the Asian Tour’s Macau Open last month for his first victory since 2021, and added this one quickly on home soil. It was his fourth career title.

Marc Leishman made seven birdies in a closing 64 to move into third place at 16 under, one ahead of Curtis Luck (69). Joaquin Niemann of Chile was fourth at 13 under, his final round 67 highlighted by an ace at the 160-meter, par-3 fourth.

Adam Scott slipped back to sixth place at 12 under with a 70 on Sunday after threatening Lee’s lead in the second and third rounds.

The Australian PGA, co-sanctioned by the Australasian Tour and DP World Tour, gave Lee a third title on the European circuit.

“I’ve always thought I could win, but it took a while to get over the hump,” he said. “Two wins in the last month or so …. really proud of it.”

He was targeting a victory on the European tour in 2023 and while he didn’t achieve it in the season that ended last week, he still made it within the calendar year that also included a tie for 5th at the U.S. Open.

Lee will play next week at the Australian Open that has a joint tournament format to feature men’s and women’s fields. His sister, two-time major winner Minjee Lee, will also be playing in Sydney.