Min Woo Lee has made a million-dollar start to his 2023 campaign despite coming up just short at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi.
It took a hole-out bunker shot from Frenchman Victor Perez on the 71st hole to separate himself from the West Australian, who had one last shot of his own on the tournament’s final hole.
Trailing by three and with Perez in the clubhouse at 18-under, Lee needed to chip in for eagle from 41 yards on the par-5 18th.
Revelling in the opportunity to put on a show, Lee brought the crowd to their feet with an attempt that released, rolled back down the hill and came to rest just a foot to the right of the hole.
Perez’s earlier bogey would prove to be enough to secure a one-stroke victory, Lee’s consolation a second-place finish worth €719,145.60 ($A1.12m).
It also elevated the 24-year-old to second on the Race to Dubai rankings and is projected to push him to No.49 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Including his top-four finishes on home soil over summer, Lee now has top-four finishes in five of his past seven starts, his worst finish a tie for 12th at the DP World Tour Championship.
Perez got off to a stunning start on day four, reeling off six birdies in the first 11 holes to reach the summit before dropping his first shot of the day at the 14th.
That opened the door for the chasing pack, with Lee joining him at the top of the leaderboard.
Perez bounced back with a 13-foot birdie at the 15th before pitching his tricky bunker shot at the 17th on to the green and spinning it in for a miracle birdie.
It was an excellent start to the year too for West Australian Jason Scrivener.
Runner-up at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship in November, the 33-year-old started his final round with nine straight pars before picking off four birdies in the space of five holes after making the turn.
The leader after day one, Scrivener’s closing round of four-under 68 pushed him up to a tie for seventh and fifth on the Race to Dubai rankings.
Jason Day’s front-nine fireworks petered out after the turn as he finished tied for 18th at The American Express in California.
A 15-footer for birdie on the first set the tone for a front-nine of six-under 30, the highlight a birdie from 43 feet at the par-3 sixth followed by birdies from 20 feet and 16 feet at seven and nine.
A bogey at 10 quelled his momentum and was unable to drag it back, closing out his fourth top-20 finish of the season with eight straight pars.
Weekend rounds of 67-66 continued Harrison Endycott’s strong start to his rookie season, a tie for 22nd the second time he has finished inside the top 25.
New Zealand’s defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Steven Alker picked up where he left off on the Champions Tour.
Alker was second six strokes behind Steve Stricker at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, Rod Pampling tied for 29th in the 42-man field.
Five of the heavy Aussie contingent enjoyed success at Final Stage of Asian Tour Qualifying School, Jack Thompson finishing on the top of the leaderboard after 90 holes of golf.
Sydney’s John Lyras was tied for second as Doug Klein, Jack Murdoch and Tom Power Horan also secured playing status in Asia in 2023.
DP World Tour
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Yas Links Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE
1 Victor Perez 71-65-68-66—270 €1,413,349.74
T2 Min Woo Lee 68-69-66-68—271 €719,145.60
T7 Jason Scrivener 65-70-72-68—275 €214,496.61
T46 Daniel Hillier 72-68-73-69—282 €39,906.35
T65 Ryan Fox 71-66-79-73—289 €19,537.48
The American Express
Pete Dye Stadium Course, La Quinta, California
1 Jon Rahm 64-64-65-68—261 $US1.44m
T16 Danny Lee (NZ) 67-68-67-65—267 $134,000
T18 Jason Day 67-64-70-67—268 $110,000
T22 Harrison Endycott 65-71-67-66—269 $80,400
T50 Aaron Baddeley 71-68-65-70—274 $19,880
MC Cam Davis 72-71-70—213
Final Stage Qualifying School
Lake View Resort and Golf Club, Hua Hin, Thailand
1 Jack Thompson 68-70-65-64-66—333
T2 John Lyras 65-69-67-66-68—335
T13 Nick Voke (NZ) 66-73-67-73-64—343
T13 Doug Klein 72-65-68-69-69—343
T26 Jack Murdoch 71-70-69-69-67—346
T34 Tom Power Horan 70-73-70-67-67—347
T43 Aaron Wilkin 69-65-75-70-69—348
T43 Dimitrios Papadatos 74-68-67-69-70—348
T43 Denzel Ieremia (NZ) 69-66-70-75-68—348
T53 Hayden Hopewell 68-71-70-69-71—349
T58 Dylan Perry 71-69-71-70-69—350
T70 Louis Dobbelaar 69-69-70-71-75—354
T74 Kevin Chun (NZ) 71-73-70-67-74—355
T88 Deyen Lawson 68-72-73-70—283
T88 Kade McBride 72-71-69-71—283
T95 Connor McKinney 68-74-70-72—284
T95 Peter Wilson 69-68-72-75—284
T95 Charlie Dann 71-73-74-66—284
MC Brett Rumford 71-74—145
MC Aaron Pike 72-73—145
MC Doeun An 71-75—146
MC James Hydes (NZ, a) 76-71—147
MC Austin Bautista 74-74—148
MC David Gleeson 84-83—167
DQ Sam Brazel 75
Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
Hualalai Golf Course, Hawaii
1 Steve Stricker 68-60-65—193 $US340,000
T2 Steven Alker (NZ) 69-67-63—199 $137,000
T29 Rod Pampling 71-71-68—210 $17,500
Qualifying School – Final Stage
Gloria Golf Resort, Belek, Turkey
MC Guy Wall 73-75-74—222
Korn Ferry Tour
The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club
Royal Blue Golf Club, Great Abaco, Bahamas
T10 Curtis Luck 70
T59 Brett Drewitt 73
T107 Rhein Gibson 76