Golf roundup: Min Woo Lee wins Australian PGA Championship

AAP Image photo via AP / Min Woo Lee holds his trophy after winning the Australian PGA Championship on Sunday in Brisbane.
AAP Image photo via AP / Min Woo Lee holds his trophy after winning the Australian PGA Championship on Sunday in Brisbane.

BRISBANE, Australia — Min Woo Lee started celebrating his first Australian PGA Championship title on the next-to-last hole when he put on a chef's hat and did a synchronized clap along with the boisterous crowd before jogging off to the 18th.

He narrowly missed par at the end but still closed with a 3-under 68 to finish at 20-under 264 for the 72-hole tournament and a three-shot win over Japan's Riyuka Hoshino, who also closed with 68.

The 25-year-old Lee, who is No. 45 in the Official World Golf Ranking and comes from Western Australia, has made "let him cook" his popular catchphrase.

And so, with a four-shot lead going into the final hole, he put on a chef's hat and clapped his hands above his head in time with the crowd at the 17th, the so-called "party hole" at Royal Queensland Golf Club.

He also brought the crowd alive with a long chip for an eagle at the par-5 ninth.

"The best atmosphere shot I've ever hit," Lee said. "That one, at that point, it was getting close.

"I was in a pretty average position. To chip that in — it was amazing. It's one of the best shots I've probably hit."

Lee had a wire-to-wire win in the Asian Tour's Macau Open last month for his first victory since 2021, and he added this one quickly on home soil. The Australian PGA Championship, co-sanctioned by the Australasian Tour and the Europe-based DP World Tour, was his fourth career title.

Marc Leishman made seven birdies in a closing 64 to move into third place at 16 under, one ahead of Curtis Luck (69). Joaquin Niemann of Chile was fourth at 13 under, his final round of 67 highlighted by a hole-in-one on the 160-yard, par-3 fourth.

Adam Scott slipped back to sixth at 12 under with a 70 on Sunday after threatening Lee's lead in the second and third rounds.

"I've always thought I could win, but it took a while to get over the hump," Lee said. "Two wins in the last month or so .... really proud of it."

He was targeting a victory on the DP World Tour, and while he didn't achieve it in the season that ended last week, he still made it within the calendar year that also included a tie for fifth at the U.S. Open.

Lee will play next at the Australian Open that has a joint tournament format to feature men's and women's fields. His sister, two-time major winner Minjee Lee, will also be playing in Sydney this week.

Burmester opens season with win at home

JOHANNESBURG — South African golfer Dean Burmester took advantage of a final-round meltdown by overnight leader Thriston Lawrence to win the Joburg Open by three strokes for his third DP World Tour victory and first in 2 1/2 years.

Burmester made six birdies in a bogey-free round of 6-under 64 to finish at 18-under 262 for the tournament that came in the opening week of the 2024 season. Compatriot Darren Fichardt also shot a 64 to finish second, two strokes ahead of 2022 tournament champion Dan Bradbury (64) in third place.

All three earned spots in the British Open next summer at Royal Troon, with this the first event of the major championship's qualifying series.

"I was a little rusty coming in, but my team did such a great job getting me ready for this week ... and it paid off," said Burmester, whose previous win was at the Tenerife Open in May 2021. "I knew I had to do something special, and fortunately I was able to do that."

It was South African-dominated leaderboard, with eight of the top 11 home players.

Lawrence, who led after the first round and by three shots through 54 holes, dropped four strokes in his first five holes Sunday and also had a double bogey coming home for a 75. That was eight shots worse than any of his first three rounds, and he finished in a tie for seventh after 10 under.

The 2024 DP World Tour season began with the first swing of the Joburg Open on Thursday, only four days after the 2023 one finished in Dubai.

The event marks the start of three straight tournaments taking place in South Africa and co-sanctioned with the country's Sunshine Tour.

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