Golf-Lee siblings look to sweep dual gender Australian Open

  • Golf
  • Wednesday, 29 Nov 2023

Sep 10, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Minjee Lee, of Australia, prepares to putt on hole 3 during the final round of the 2023 Kroger Queen City Championship in at Kenwood Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports/File photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Twice major winner Minjee Lee and her in-form brother Min Woo are targeting a unique sweep of the dual gender Australian Open in Sydney this week while Cameron Smith will look to bounce back from his horror show in Brisbane.

Days after Minjee won a record third Greg Norman medal as Australia's top golfer, Min Woo cruised to a three-stroke victory at the Australian PGA Championship on Sunday to the delight of packed galleries at Royal Queensland.

His first big, home victory came just over a month after the Lees became the first siblings to win events in successive weeks on major international tours, with Minjee claiming the BMW Ladies Championship and Min Woo the Macau Open.

The mixed format of the Australian Open - which has separate men's and women's trophies - will have the siblings competing apart but in close proximity across two courses, The Australian and The Lakes.

Min Woo, the more extroverted of the Western Australian duo, said he hoped both could hoist trophies in the same week.

"It would be pretty crazy. We've won back-to-back weeks, but on the same week would be something else," the 25-year-old told reporters.

Though boasting three European Tour titles among his four professional wins, Min Woo has some catching up to do to match his sister.

The 27-year-old world number five has 10 LPGA Tour titles and top-three finishes at all five of the women's majors.

The Australian Open has proved elusive, though, despite playing every one since the age of 14.

"As an Australian you always want to win your national Open and it’s always been high on my list to win," she said.

"I put the most pressure on myself here, I really want to do well so it's subconscious pressure."


Former British Open winner Smith can only sympathise.

The 30-year-old was in tears last week after missing the cut in his Australian PGA Championship title defence, the event he won three times in front of friends and family.

He said his meltdown at Royal Queensland had dented his confidence but he had worked hard with coach Grant Field for four days to iron out a technical issue with his swing.

"I wouldn’t say my confidence is at 100%, but like I said, there’s no reason I can’t go out there and be competitive," he said.

"It only takes a few good shots and a few good feels and all of a sudden you’re looking at yourself at the top of the leaderboard."

Former world number one Adam Scott is another with something to prove, having challenged Lee in the first half of the PGA Championship before fading over the weekend to finish sixth.

Scott won the Australian Open in 2009 but has endured plenty of frustration since at the country's most prestigious event.

He held a one-stroke lead when he teed off in the final round at Melbourne's Victoria Golf Club last year but duly crashed to hand Poland's Adrian Meronk a five-stroke win.

Without a win in nearly four years, the 43-year-old has committed to a higher-risk, attacking game to try to break the drought.

"You have to accept some bad results because you're going for it, and if you're not on then you're going to have a bad score," he said.

"But you're looking for those five or six weeks a year where you go for it and you're on and you make a ton of birdies and you get the big results."

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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