An exciting playoff and a young man stepping out of his sister’s shadow were the big stories to come out of the 2020 Vic Open at Thirteenth Beach.
Martin Blake wrapped up both the men’s and women’s Vic Open tournaments for Golf Victoria firstly detailing the exciting four-hole playoff that eventually saw Park claim the winner’s plate.
For Park, it was a significant victory to say the least. A 13-year LPGA Tour player who has been ranked inside the top 20, she played so poorly last year that she went back to qualifying school, only at the insistence of her husband, JooJong-Joe. She finished second in the qualifying and the rest is history. Previously coached by Australian Steve Bann, she said she always felt comfortable playing Down Under.
“I was going to stop golf, but that meaning very inspired me and then very payback to my family and husband, and then I think this is pay back for everything,” she said. “And I’m getting old compared to other Korean girls on the LPGA and they keep grinding. Because I made it, I won the event, and I just giving back to inspire to other young golfers.’’
Min Woo Lee’s first professional victory has seen him move out of the shadow of his more famous older sister, Minjee Lee.
The co-sanctioned European Tour tournament sees Lee with a two-year exemption in Europe after the victory and it has golf experts wondering if we’re seeing the emergence of Australia’s next golfing superstar.
But it seems for the moment that Min Woo seems happy just to have one over his sister for a while.
Lee, from Royal Fremantle, was greeted with a hug from his sister after he birdied the 72nd hole to win by two shots from New Zealand’s Ryan Fox, having started the day with a three-shot lead.
Minjee Lee, who is in the top 10 on the women’s world rankings, previously won the Vic Open in 2014 and 2018. She finished tied-sixth today, but at one point threatened to make it a dual Lee victory before fading late. Their mother Clara, and grandmother Angela, were in the crowd jumping between holes to watch the siblings.
Min Woo Lee played sensational golf for a fourth consecutive day, starting with three birdies in his first four holes and ultimately carding a four-under par 68.
“Yeah, my sister and I winning the same tournament, it’s pretty special,’’ he said. “I’ve got bragging rights now, so it’s even better.’’