Min Woo Lee became the first winner of the 2024 Race to Dubai as he claimed his third DP World Tour title at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship.
The 25-year-old, who started the day with a three-stroke lead, carded a final round three under par 68 at Royal Queensland to win his second professional title on home soil, adding to his 2020 ISPS HANDA Vic Open triumph.
He recovered from a bogey on the first hole with gains on the fourth, sixth and seventh holes, before sending the home crowd into a frenzy as he chipped in for eagle on the ninth to lead by four strokes from Rikuya Hoshino of Japan at the turn.
Lee cancelled out bogeys on the tenth and 14th with birdies on the 12th and 15th holes and he stood on the 18th tee with a four-stroke lead, as Hoshino carded six consecutive pars from the 12th.
A Bogey On The last
A bogey on the last didn’t dampen the celebrations as signed for a 20 under-par total and bridged a two-and-a-half-year gap since his last DP World Tour victory at the Scottish Open in 2021.
Hoshino matched Lee’s three under par 68 to take second place on 17 under as he recorded his highest career finish on the DP World Tour, one stroke ahead of Marc Leishman who signed for a seven under par 64 to finish on 16 under.
Curtis Luck finished fourth on 15 under, while Chilean Joaquin Niemann signed for a four-under 67, which included a hole-in-one on the par three fourth, to finish in fifth place on 13 under.
Min Woo Lee: “Unbelievable. I’ve always thought I could win, but it took a while to get over the hump. But with two wins in the last month or so, I’m really proud of my team and myself.
I made it interesting early on and through the middle but ended up hanging on, so I’m really proud.
“Rikuya is a really good player and he just kept knocking on the door, but it was exactly the same as my last win.
Just the playing part, I just kept coming, so I knew I just needed to keep playing well and do my thing and I did. I’m really proud the way I made some up and downs and some putts.
“(On 9) I think that was probably the best atmosphere shot I’ve ever hit. I’ve had a few chip-ins, but at that point it was getting close and I was in a pretty average position off the tee shot, after the tee shot, so to chip that in, it was amazing. It was probably one of the best shots I’ve ever hit.”
Rikuya Hoshino: “I would like to congratulate Min Woo on his amazing play. This was my first time playing a tournament in Australia and my first time being here, and I had a lot of fun playing in front of such big crowds.
“It was a lot of fun to be able to compete with the stars of the world and try to win the championship. I was very sharp and achieved a good result, so I’ll do my best to win next week as well.”