Min Woo Lee leads Vic Open by three, but sister Minjee five behind in Geelong
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By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 08/02/20 10:57am
Min Woo Lee is on course to emulate his elder sister and claim his maiden professional title on home soil after he opened up a three-shot lead at the ISPS Handa Vic Open.
Lee coped admirably with the strong winds that sent scores soaring on day three, closing out a commendable 68 with an eagle at the last to move to 15 under par - giving him a comfortable cushion over Marcus Fraser and Travis Smyth.
Lee's sister, Minjee, has an outside chance of victory in the LPGA event at the same venue, but she will need to overturn a five-shot deficit on the final day after she struggled to a 74.
In the European Tour event, only eight players managed to return sub-70 scores in the blustery conditions at the 13th Beach Golf Club in Geelong, with Lee getting off to a nice start with three birdies on the front half against just one bogey - only his third of the tournament - at the eighth.
The 21-year-old hit another controlled approach into the 15th and converted from close range and, after he was unable to save par at 17, he took advantage of the downwind, par-five 18th as he crushed a long-iron off the tee, drilled a wedge to 10 feet and rolled in the putt for eagle.
"It was probably one of the best rounds I've ever played regardless of score," he said. "I've hit it pretty solid. There were a couple of shots that were bad but that happens in 50kph winds so I'm pretty happy and should be proud of the way I played.
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"I feel like I'm good enough to keep my card regardless of winning or not. I'm looking forward to if I do win but I'm just going to go out there and keep playing the way I am.
"I'm not sure how Minjee is going, hopefully she's playing okay, and we can tussle it out to the end. It would be nice to win a tournament and I think it would be one of the only tournaments that a brother and sister has won, so that should be cool."
His sister had got her third round off to a great start when she reeled off three consecutive birdies from the second, but her hopes of a third victory in the tournament were knocked when she bogeyed the seventh and doubled the next.
The 23-year-old, who first won the trophy as a 17-year-old amateur in 2014, continued her tumble down the leaderboard after the turn as she bogeyed 11, 16 and 17 before clawing one back at the last to keep her within striking distance of 54-hole leader Ayean Cho.
The South Korean's 70 was enough for the outright lead on 12 under ahead of faltering Swede Madelene Sagstrom, whose mixed-bag of a 74 featured an eagle, two birdies, four bogeys and one double-bogey at the short seventh.
Stephanie Meadow was another to struggle after a good start as she also fired a 74 to slip six behind, with Ireland's Leona Maguire (74) one further stroke off the pace heading into the final day.