Date: October 14, 2015
Author: Tom Fee, Golf WA

Lee birdie blitz buoys Aussies

Eight second round birdies from WA teenager Min Woo Lee has kept Australia in the hunt at the Spirit International.

Playing the Jack Nicklaus designed Whispering Pines course in Texas, the Australian pairing of Lee and Victorian David Micheluzzi combined for an 8-under best ball round, maintaining second place in the men’s competition at 15-under.

Lee and Micheluzzi trail the leading American team by three shots ahead of tomorrow’s third and final round.

Lee, who is also second in the men’s individual competition, was pleased with how he finished the day.

“My first nine was scrappy, but I really got into a groove on the back nine,” said Lee, who made six birdies over a stretch of seven holes from the 11th to the 17th.

Lee credited his teammate on their strong performance so far this week, with the pair recording 17 birdies and just two bogeys from the opening two rounds.

 “Dave and I are working well together and we’re making a tonne of birdies, and we’ve really been able to help each other out when the other gets in trouble!" said Lee.

“It’s always great when you get to play as a team in golf, but it can also be nerve wracking as you don’t want to let them down.”

In the women’s event, Joanna Charlton and Gennai Goodwin are 20th at 2-over par, after shooting an even par second round.

Australia is T12 in the overall competition when combining the men’s and women’s totals, trailing leaders Mexico and the USA by twelve.

The Spirit International is a unique Olympic style amateur golf tournament, that offers gold, silver and bronze medals over five competitions; men’s, women’s, overall teams, men’s individual and women’s individual.

The individual events only count birdies and eagles to the total, and with 12 birdies to his name, Lee is second and trailing American Philip Barbaree by two.

On top of a gold medal, the winner of the men’s event will earn a start at a USA based tour event next year, either on the PGA or Tour.

Despite a format that encourages an aggressive style of play, Lee says he hasn’t been playing this week any differently.

“My game plan is the same no matter where I play,” said Lee, who won the 2015 WA Amateur.

“I always like to be aggressive and go after birdies, and we’ll need a lot more tomorrow to catch the USA!”