WA's Min Woo Lee and Queensland’s Shae Wools-Cobb co-lead the Mandurah Amateur, handling the wet and blustery conditions during the opening round at Mandurah Country Club.
At 4-under, the pair hold a handy two stroke lead over Fred Lee of Royal Perth. South Australia’s Jack Williams, Victorian Darcy Brereton and Troy Moses of NSW round out the top five on 1-under par.
Min Woo Lee made seven birdies on his way to an opening round 67 — an ominous sign that the Royal Fremantle youngster is at the top of his game.
At 16 years of age, Lee proved himself to be a force in Australian golf by winning the WA Amateur in March.
But expectations on Lee were tempered after a couple of disappointing results leading in to his home state's remaining National Rankings event.
Lee suffered an early exit from the Round of 16 at the City of Perth amateur last weekend, allowing him to make a start in Sunday’s Royal Fremantle Junior bowl.
Playing his home course, the event was tailor made for another Lee victory, but Lee settled for second behind fellow RFGC junior Connor Faulds.
A week later Lee is sitting pretty alongside Cobb, with a vast majority of the Australian golfing elite on his tail.
Victorians Andrew Schonewillie (6th) and Brett Coletta (9th) are all within striking distance with 54 holes left to play.
Both feature in the top 10 of the Australian rankings, and Coletta has shown he is more than capable of performing at this level after earning Medallist honours at last month's US Amateur.
But Lee is excited about the challenge, saying he is “pumped” for tomorrow’s second round with all facets of his game running smoothly.
“I’m feeling good about my game and the round today.
My putting and iron play went well. Being able to have control of my irons was necessary to deal with the wind out there. It really helped as it was so easy to lose shots in today’s conditions.”
When asked if he can draw confidence from his WA Amateur win, Lee said he feels comfortable knowing he has the game to close out a National Ranking event.
“My putting is probably at that level (as the WA Amateur), but my iron game feels more consistent. I feel like my game is there.”
Co-leader Wools-Cobb is one half team sent over by Golf Queensland team this week. Cobb made just one bogey in his 4-under round, with birdies on 1, 4, 6, 15 and 18.
Cobb is a member of the newly constructed Maroochy River Golf Club, a links style course built on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
The tree-free Maroochy River course may be a far cry from the Mandurah’s tree lined fairways, but Cobb clearly did well playing in today’s links-style conditions.
The Mandurah Amateur will continue with 18 holes tomorrow and conclude with 36 on Monday. With clear and calmer conditions forecasted, the field can take a deep breath and focus on posting some low scores to challenge the leaders.