Min Woo Lee is looking to follow the path formed by Australia’s two highest ranked male golfers, Cameron Smith and Adam Scott.
Upon announcing today his return to Royal Queensland for the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship from November 24-27, the 24-year-old declared his intentions to use winning the event as a launching pad for success overseas like Australia’s latest major champion Smith.
“There’s a history of players winning in Australia at the end of the year and really propelling their career,” Lee said.
“Cam Smith winning The Open, that was incredible and it just shows how much hard work he’s put in. He’s done so well in the last couple of years. I’m trying to follow in those footsteps and just try to work on the right stuff.
“Every week has a toll so you do want to do the right things and not have too much fluff around your golfing life and outside. It’s time to dig in and have some good results.”
Smith (2017 & 2018) is a two-time winner of the Joe Kirkwood Cup with his victories proving to be a crucial step on his journey to major glory, the Presidents Cup, the Olympic Games and winning tournaments on the PGA Tour.
Scott is another who has won the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship twice (in 2013 and 2019) and Lee is tapping into the 2013 Masters champion’s wisdom every chance he gets.
“I obviously looked up to him and I ask him as many questions as I can. He’s very open and he’s kind of taken me under his wing a little bit. I think he knew about me before I came out on tour and he gave me confidence to not change too much and just play my own game,” Lee said.
“He’s a good friend. I do hang out with him at the golf course and I go out for dinner with him. It’s pretty cool. Someone you look up to and you can get to hang out with them.
“I try to hang out with him as much as I can and pick his brain. He’s very good to me.”
In the early days of Scott’s professional career, he juggled European commitments with American opportunities like Lee is doing now and the West Australian is learning how to find a consistent groove.
He has produced some eye-catching performances in major championships – T14 at The Masters (including a front nine 30 on Sunday), T21 at The Open and T27 at the US Open – but failed to progress to the weekend in all seven of his starts on the PGA Tour this year.
“I’ve been happy because I’ve played well in the majors, which are the most important tournaments golf has,” Lee said.
“I would have loved to have played a bit better in the regular PGA Tour events so that I could get my card but it’s like how it was when I first came out on the DP World Tour. It was tough. You’re not used to any of the courses and after a year, going back to the same courses, you’re much more comfortable.
“Hopefully I can get the same opportunity next year and play better. It was an eye-opener too because the courses’ were tougher and the players were really good. Obviously the best players in the world so you’re versing a tough crowd. Mentally you do get tougher from experiencing those good events.”
Lee will head to the Korn Ferry Tour finals later this month – where the top-25 money earners across three events will be granted a PGA Tour card for next season – to chase his PGA Tour dream again.
He is currently undergoing a training block in Perth with his coach Ritchie Smith to prepare for that push, and the remainder of his year.
“My eyes are open now that I need to work really hard,” he said.
“There’s a lot of things that are good in my game that I can keep and I keep on top of. There’s a couple of things that I need to work on. It always comes back to my habits. What I do with my golf swing.
“Putting and chipping have been really good over the last six months. We’ve worked on that and if we keep that at a pretty good level I think we’re going to be pretty happy. Approach play wasn’t too good and we need to work on that. Again it comes back to my habits with what my swing does.”
The Fortinet Australian PGA Championship is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland, and Brisbane City Council via Brisbane Economic Development Agency.
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