Date: December 11, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Rampant Lee seals Aussie Open start

Min Woo Lee has booked an early berth in the 2016 Emirates Australian Open, winning the Aaron Baddeley Junior International in San Diego today.

The Perth prodigy, 17, closed a stellar week at La Costa Resort with another four-under-par 68 to finish at 17 under and a five-stroke winner over compatriot Blake Windred, of Newcastle.

So dominant was his victory that of nine total rounds in the 60s throughout the event, Lee posted four of them.

Two more were posted by Windred, whose closing 67 was the day’s best round and left him clear of third place by an equally amazing eight shots.

Finishing fifth overall, but winning the boys’ 16 years age division, was Gold Creek’s Josh Armstrong.

The Canberra golfer fired his second consecutive round of 70 to close at one under par and beat his nearest division rival by six strokes.

In the girls’ division, Sydney’s Celina Yuan finished runner-up to Japan’s Minori Iwasaki.

Yuan, of The Australian Golf Club, was level with Iwasaki with four holes to play, but a bogey on the 15th was compounded by a birdie on the 16th for the Japanese youngster who won by two at seven under.

Perth’s Hira Naveed fired a 75 to finish fifth at two under overall.

Lee has been in stellar form, leading the WA PGA Championship in Kalgoorlie after the first round on the Australian PGA Tour, then backing up with a top-10 finish at the WA Open at his home club, Royal Fremantle, in early November.

He also finished as joint medallist at the Spirit International in his first appearance on American soil in October.

“All the hard work is paying off – these last few months have been an adventure,” Lee said.

“I’ve been working extra hard so I can prove that I’m good enough on the big stage and it’s good the results are showing now.”

And arguably the biggest prize is his ticket to Royal Sydney next summer to peg it up against some of the world’s best.

“The Aussie Open (berth) means a lot. Being my home Open makes it even more special.

“I’ve played pro tournaments in WA, but the Aussie Open wouldn’t be anything like them.”