Lee eager to make a name for himself at AAC

Australia's Lee Min-woo, the younger brother of LPGA star Min-jee, is hoping to win this year's Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship to earn a spot at the Masters and The Open next year.
Australia's Lee Min-woo, the younger brother of LPGA star Min-jee, is hoping to win this year's Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship to earn a spot at the Masters and The Open next year.PHOTO: AAC

Google the name Lee Min-woo and you are more likely to find results of a South Korean pop star of the Shinhwa boyband fame.

Or you might find that a certain golfer with the same name once bested Jason Day in a long drive contest last year. Or that he is the younger brother of LPGA star Minjee, who won the Volvik Championship in May this year.

While Lee appreciates having a sibling who understands the ups and downs of being a golfer, he is aiming to make a name for himself.

"It's great to have a sister who is doing so well; she gives me lots of inspiration and lots of helpful advice," the 20-year-old Perth native told The Straits Times in an e-mail interview last week.

"We are two different people who do it in different ways on the course, but it's great to feed off each other. But I want to be my own name, of course."

The 2016 US Junior Amateur winner will get a chance at bolstering his reputation, as well as to make amends for a poor previous showing, at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) at the Sentosa Golf Club's New Tanjong Course from today to Sunday.

Lee said he did not play well in the tournament in Wellington last year, when he finished third, and is eager to prove his worth this week, especially since the winner will get an invitation to the Masters Tournament and a place in The Open Championship next year, provided he retains his amateur status.

"The (New Tanjong) course is awesome. The fairways are in really good condition and same as the greens. They are probably the best greens I've putted on this year," Lee said at the pre-tournament media conference on Tuesday.

"I'm really excited to play on them and, hopefully, I'll have a good putting week."

The world amateur No. 9 is the highest-ranked player in the 120-strong field, which includes eight Singaporeans.

Lee will enter the tournament in good form, after making it to the second stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying in Texas last week. He is aiming to turn professional next year, unless he wins the AAC and gets the invites to the two Majors.

The Australian can also draw inspiration from his idol Tiger Woods, who conducted an impromptu clinic for Lee and other golfers at the Sage Valley Junior Invitational in the US two years ago.

Woods won the Tour Championship late last month for his first win in more than five years.

"I'm glad he won, he is my idol and truly inspiring. I nearly cried because it's been so long since he's had a win. He's gone through so much, it truly shows that hard work pays off," said Lee.

Singapore's Gregory Foo will make his eighth appearance in the amateur tournament, which could be his last as he looks to turn pro.

Nicknamed "Foo Fighter", the 24-year-old said: "I guess (the nickname came about) mainly because of the band. But my teammates don't call me that too often. Most of the time, they just call me Greg or G-Foo or something, but I like the sound of Foo Fighter better. Hopefully, I show it out there this week."


 • Entry to the 2018 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at the Sentosa Golf Club is free of charge.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2018, with the headline 'Lee eager to make a name for himself at AAC'. Print Edition | Subscribe