With one word, Min Woo Lee sent panic through the field during the second round at the Mandurah Amateur.
When queried about his mid-round score, the Royal Fremantle member responded a single word — "better" — referring to yesterday's opening round 67.
Twelve hours after his sister shot 68 to rise into the top-10 at the Evian Championship, the younger Lee sibling signed for a 6-under 65, shooting his first ever bogey free round and opening up a six stroke lead in the National Ranking event.
With tight fairways, Mandurah Country Club creates a social atmosphere between groupings. This is especially on the tee of the par three 17th. As players wait for the group ahead to putt out, there’s an opportunity to chat to golfers passing by on adjacent fairways.
It was here where word of Min Woo’s performance spread like wildfire.
One rumour had Min Woo’s lead as high as nine, another said he saw Lee sink a putt from off the 17th green for birdie (he parred). One went as far to joke that Lee only had 10 putts for the day (he had 25).
With Lee’s iron game on song, his putter stepped up to make the most of the opportunities.
“Today they were just dropping. It felt similar to yesterday but today I gave myself more chances. I drove it a bit better too, but I felt like I was holing everything.”
It’s a case of hard work paying off, with Lee focusing on his putting after attending last month’s Golf Australia junior camp on the Sunshine Coast.
“At the GA camp they said that my putting wasn’t too good! So I’ve been practicing, working on my stroke and working on my pre-shot routine. So far it’s turning out well.”
Overnight co-leader Shae Wools-Cobb couldn’t match his outstanding 4-under opening round, settling for a 1-over 72 in much calmer conditions.
Fred Lee, who was third placed to start the day, also carded a 72 — allowing Min Woo to put a sizeable distance between himself and the field.
“Shae wasn’t having his best day, so I saw it as a chance to get myself as far apart from second place as I could.”
In second and in ominous form is Brett Coletta, who fired a 5-under 66 in another bogey free round for the leading pair.
Coletta is playing his first tournament since winning the US Amateur medal almost four weeks ago.
An off-day could be excused in the Victorian’s return to competitive golf, especially in yesterday’s blustery conditions.
But Coletta says he’s happy with how he has performed on both days, despite bettering his opening round score by six.
“I wouldn’t say it was rust (in Round 1), it was more due the conditions.
I played quite well but the difference was just on a couple of holes. I made a of couple errors with my distances, and the wind was very swirly which gave me some difficult up and downs.”
“I was off to a good start today, and all I wanted was to be in a good position for tomorrow, which I’ve done. Some putts may not have gone my way but if I stay patient I’ll see how I go tomorrow.”
Coletta and Lee were drawn together for the opening two rounds, and Coletta will have another 36 holes tomorrow to challenge the leader.
“He (Lee) was just clinical today. He put on a great show on the greens and there was nothing I could do to put pressure on him. Tomorrow I’ll be looking to get off to a good start and then see how he reacts.”
Behind the West Australian leader is a swathe of interstate players.
Coletta holds outright second on 4-under with Queensland’s Shae Wools-Cobb and NSW’s Troy Moses a shot further back.
Dale Brandt Richards (NSW) is the only remaining golfer under par on 1-under, with Victoria’s Andrew Schonewille, South Australia’s Jack Williams and Royal Perth’s Fred Lee even with the card.
Cottesloe’s Curtis Luck and Victorian Kyle Michel round out the top 10 on 1-over par.