KATHIE SHEARER: Ladies and gentlemen, what a day. Are we all exhausted? What two wonderful winners. MIN WOO LEE: Exhausted? No. HEE YOUNG PARK: I played four, five more holes than him. MIN WOO LEE: No, it’s worth it. We worked hard for this, so it’s pretty special. KATHIE SHEARER: What does this win mean […]
KATHIE SHEARER: Ladies and gentlemen, what a day. Are we all exhausted? What two wonderful winners.
MIN WOO LEE: Exhausted? No.
HEE YOUNG PARK: I played four, five more holes than him.
MIN WOO LEE: No, it’s worth it. We worked hard for this, so it’s pretty special.
KATHIE SHEARER: What does this win mean for you both?
HEE YOUNG PARK: Keep it easy. I don’t have to hit the shot all the time with really perfectness, just put it in the fairways and greens, and if I have chance to make a putt, if par, happy with that.
KATHIE SHEARER: Wonderful. Min?
MIN WOO LEE: Yeah, the win means a lot. I get to pick my schedule now. Just being crowned the Vic Open champion, it’s pretty special. As my first win, it’s pretty sweet. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, but I’ll wake up tomorrow feeling good. Maybe drunk.
Q. Min, we feel like we’ve been waiting for this forever. Do you feel like you’ve been waiting for this forever?
MIN WOO LEE: It’s pretty sweet. It’s awesome. For the last month and a bit I feel like it’s been pretty close. Aussie PGA was a few shots back of Scotty and I thought I didn’t play too good, but I got my putter fixed this week and ended up on a roll and didn’t really miss too many putts. So yeah, with my ball‑striking on form and my putting good, I guess I ended up with this trophy, so I’m happy.
Q. Now that you’ve done it, what’s the difference between being close and winning?
MIN WOO LEE: I don’t know. I think obviously the conditions were pretty tough and I was just so in control of my ball. I think I have a big advantage in the wind just because I can keep that down. You know, nice help with the Callaway clubs and it’s pretty good.
Q. What can you do in your career? Do you have a feel for that? What can you do?
MIN WOO LEE: What can I do? You know, my goal was to get to the top‑75 at the end of the year. I think it was top‑75 at the end of last year.
But, you know, I always knew I had the ability to be one of the top players in the world and I think I’ve shown this week that, for myself as well, that I could play under pressure and play pretty comfortably and shoot a low score. So, you know, I’m not going to say what I can be and who I can be, but I’m really excited for the next year and next few years. Hopefully I’m playing on the big stage and playing some majors and contending in them.
Q. You’ve shot a lot of low scores in your life. These aren’t the lowest, these last two, but they have to rank among your most precious rounds.
MIN WOO LEE: Yeah, it wasn’t the best low score relative to par, but just mentally and physically, I give my score pretty high, nine out of 10 all week. It didn’t ever get lower than that. So, yeah, I think golf‑wise it was very solid and it’s probably ranked top three for my whole life.
Q. Is it fair to say that you need a challenge to motivate you?
MIN WOO LEE: A little bit. I think it was a bit of a blessing in disguise missing by one in Saudi and coming here early. I knew I wasn’t too far. There was like 60(k) winds in Saudi and I didn’t handle it all that well and that actually kind of helped this week because of those high winds. It’s pretty special.
Q. Hee Young, how did you find the wind today and your position in the field? You know, you were quite a way back. How did you find the conditions?
HEE YOUNG PARK: It was really tough wind and the green was very tough with the speed, speed‑wise. But I hit it all good all week, I hit it really well. I didn’t really watch the leaderboards, so until the 17th I didn’t know what my spot was and realised I was really close. So I try my best 18 holes and luckily made a birdie and I got a chance and keep grinding.
Q. And is it true, I think you said you might stop golf last year?
HEE YOUNG PARK: Yeah, I was going to ‑‑ yeah, I married and it was really busy, different life because I’m married and I have more family now, a housewife and golf and a lot of things going on. So my ranking wasn’t a great year and I had to go to Q‑School. My husband really, you know, forced make to try to Q‑School and I went there and I played Q‑School. It was tough because 13 years ago it was only five rounds, but it was eight rounds, so it was really tough but I made it. I had a chance to play this year and then here it is.
Q. Min, were you here in 2014 and ’18 when Minjee won?
MIN WOO LEE: ’18 maybe?
MIN WOO LEE: Not ’14, I was too young.
Q. Did you have a chance to see her reaction to you winning this afternoon?
MIN WOO LEE: Yeah, I saw some pictures. It was pretty special. My hair was like a peacock, but yeah, it was pretty cool to see her smile and have my back.
Q. And you’re just looking at the names on the trophy moments ago there. Your sister is on the women’s side two years, but when you look at those names, has this been probably a trophy that you had your eye on the last couple years?
MIN WOO LEE: Yeah, this one’s obviously special because it’s at home and there’s not many big tournaments in Australia, so we can count it as a major for me. I haven’t been in any of those top majors, but it’s an important one. I know it’s not the strongest field, but I had a really good chance coming in and glad I have my name on this trophy now.
Q. For Min, playing at home, winning at home, everyone wants to hear how he’s feeling. You’re a long way from home. Is the celebration different for you or does it feel different? Have you spoken to anybody from home yet?
HEE YOUNG PARK: I haven’t checked my phone, but probably my family are probably all crying. I can’t wait talk to my husband.
Q. Min, you said you knew if you hit the fairway that you pretty much, quote unquote, had it in the bag. Then once you hit the second you were walking up, you told me to soak it in. Was that walk how you dreamt it might be?
MIN WOO LEE: I didn’t look back, but my caddie, he’s been around the block a lot of times, so he said, “Soak it in,” so I tried to soak it in. I listened to him all week and I thought I would soak it in. No, it was pretty special.
Q. Hee Young, did you spend some time here in Australia like maybe a couple years ago when you had a caddie from here?
HEE YOUNG PARK: No. My coach was living in Melbourne, so I spent a lot of time in Melbourne actually used to be, so very familiar when I come over to Australia. I always get good vibe and good feeling in Australia.
Q. Who was the coach?
HEE YOUNG PARK: Stephen Bann.
Q. You pronounced “Melbourne” correctly. What do you win at home? What’s the bragging rights with Minjee?
MIN WOO LEE: Oh, I don’t know. I won’t see her for a while now, but I guess I have the bragging rights until next time. Probably this tournament next year. I’ll try and keep my edge there and hopefully win again so I can double brag and that pretty much sets it, right?
KATHIE SHEARER: Any more questions, ladies and gentlemen? Please join me again in thanking worthy champions.