European Tour

Min Woo Lee wins Vic Open to make it a family affair

Min Woo Lee (Getty Images)
Min Woo Lee (Getty Images)

Geelong - Min Woo Lee followed in his sister's footsteps by winning the innovative Vic Open on Sunday, earning a two-year European Tour exemption in the process, as South Korea's Park Hee-young claimed the women's title after a play-off.

Seen as one of Australia's most exciting young talents, 21-year-old Lee showed nerves of steel to hold on to his overnight lead with a four-under-par 68 to win by two strokes from New Zealander Ryan Fox.

"It's amazing, I have got to think it through," said an ecstatic Lee of clinching his first tournament. "I just played awesome and out of myself. I'm over the moon"

His older sister, world number nine Minjee Lee, won the tournament, where men and women tee off, in alternate groups on the same course and for equal prize money, in 2014 and 2018.

Since her last triumph at the event - the only one of its kind in the world - it has taken on added significance with the European Tour and the US-based LPGA Tour jointly sanctioning it for the first time last year.

She hit a one-over-par 73 Sunday to finish tied for sixth, two behind Park.

"We've played twice before at tournaments and I've come out on top on the third time, so I guess I'm the better one," Min Woo Lee joked when asked about earning bragging rights over his sister, who was on the 18th green to give him a congratulatory hug.

Lee, a US junior champion, went into the final round at the 13th Beach Golf Links in Geelong, south of Melbourne, with a three-shot buffer from fellow Australians Marcus Fraser and Travis Smyth.

Smyth and Fraser kept in touch while New Zealand's Fox made a late charge with a best-of-the-day 64, including an eagle at the last to apply some pressure.

Lee remained focused until the 17th when he hit his first bogey of the day. But he regrouped to birdie the last to raucous applause from the crowd.

South Korea's Ayean Cho was the overnight women's leader, but she had a horror final round of 81, as did Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom, her nearest challenger after round three.

That opened the door to South Korean trio Choi Hye-jin, Park Hee-young, and Ryu So-yeon.

Choi was the early clubhouse leader on eight-under-par, with Ryu and Park matching her on the 18th to send it to a play-off. They couldn't be separated on the first hole, all sinking birdies.

Ryu was eliminated after the second, with Park winning her third LPGA title on the fourth hole after Choi hit the rough and couldn't recover.

Final scores Sunday on day four of the joint European Tour and LPGA Tour-sanctioned Vic Open in Geelong, where the men's and women's tournaments are played side-by-side. x-won at fourth playoff hole (par-72; AUS unless stated):

Men

269 - Min Woo Lee 66-67-68-68

271 - Ryan Fox (NZL) 67-71-69-64

274 - Robin Sciot-Siegrist (FRA) 66-64-76-68, Marcus Fraser 70-65-69-70, Travis Smyth 65-67-72-70

276 - Jake McLeod 65-68-76-67

277 - Sam Horsfield (ENG) 70-67-73-67, Darren Beck 69-70-69-69, Jediah Morgan 66-67-74-70, Sami Valimaki (FIN) 69-69-70-69, Ashley Hall 67-68-71-71

278 - Niklas Lemke (SWE) 70-67-72-69, Nick Flanagan 67-67-74-70, Lucas Herbert 70-69-70-69

279 - Alejandro Canizares (ESP) 63-71-76-69, Daniel Hillier (NZL) 68-70-72-69, Zach Murray 66-69-73-71, Matthew Millar 72-66-68-73, Anthony Quayle 75-64-67-73

Women

281 - x-Park Hee-young (KOR) 68-68-72-73, Choi Hye-jin (KOR) 69-68-75-69, Ryu So-yeon (KOR) 71-70-68-72

282 - Leona Maguire (IRE) 69-69-74-70, Linnea Strom (SWE) 66-69-76-71

283 - Su Oh 73-68-74-68, Robyn Choi 70-65-77-71, Minjee Lee 69-67-74-73

284 - Christina Kim (USA) 67-70-77-70, Alena Sharp (CAN) 68-69-70-77

285 - Wichanee Meechai (THA) 72-69-74-70, Ally McDonald (USA) 68-65-81-71, Hannah Green 69-73-71-72, Tiffany Joh (USA) 67-73-73-72, Tsai Pei-ying (TPE) 68-68-73-76

286 - Ho Yu An (TPE) 70-71-72-73, Perrine Delacour (FRA) 69-69-75-73, Liu Yu (CHN) 70-71-72-73, Ayean Cho (KOR) 69-66-70-81

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