Min Woo Lee fired an opening 65 to share the first-round lead at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship as the 2023 DP World Tour campaign got under way in Brisbane.
Lee and fellow home favourites Jason Scrivener and John Lyras each made seven birdies and a single bogey on day one of the season-opening tournament, which is co-sanctioned with the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
The leading trio sit on six under par, one shot ahead of Major Champion Adam Scott, Brad Kennedy, Anthony Quayle, Peter Cooke and Jeunghun Wang.
Two-time DP World Tour winner Lee made a bright start to the new season, reeling off birdies at the second, fourth, fifth and ninth to reach the turn in 32. He gave a shot back at the tenth but made amends with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-three 11th.
An impressive pitch at the long 15th set up a tap-in birdie there before more short-game magic saw Lee get up and down from the sand at the 17th for a sensational par save. He followed that up with a closing birdie from 12 feet to head into the clubhouse on six under.
“It was awesome,” said Lee. “Very solid, one mistake, a bad drive on ten, but other than that, it was a very solid day approach-wise and off the tee and a very good day on the greens. So, if I can do that the next few days, it will be very nice.
“Yeah, 17 was – I didn’t think it was too hard, but when you get up there and actually look at it, it’s actually a very tough shot. You can only land it where I landed it and take a bit of speed off it and let it roll down the hill. That was probably one of the better chips I’ve done today or all year round, but yeah, it was just nice. A lot of momentum savers today and I capitalised on the next holes and made birdies, so yeah, very good momentum-wise. Sometimes it’s been the other way, so it’s nice to actually hole some putts and make birdies.
“I’ve just been playing really good. I don’t know, my attitude, the last few months has just been just to have fun and family’s out and kids are out too, so I’ve got a lot to show off and inspire little kids and do that. So, I think it’s a pretty good attitude the last couple of months and I’ll just keep doing that.”
New Zealand’s Ryan Fox, fresh from finishing runner-up to Rory McIlroy in the 2022 season-long rankings, hit the opening tee shot of the 2023 DP World Tour season at 6:00am local time at Royal Queensland.