Sibling rivalry will be alive and well at the 2018 Oates Vic Open with the Lees preparing to make the trip across the Nullabor to Barwon Heads.
Australia’s number one female golfer Minjee Lee and younger brother Min Woo – the nation’s highest-ranked amateur – are locked in to tee it up at 13th Beach Golf Links for the second straight year.
As the current World Number 19, Minjee will likely be the highest-ranked professional in either the men’s or women’s fields, while Min Woo sits 14th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
Min Woo showed a liking for 13th Beach last year after claiming Low Amateur honours with an outstanding T6 finish that also gave the 19-year-old something to remind his sister about back home.
“I definitely bragged about it for a bit!” Lee told Golf Victoria. “It was the only tournament we played together since the junior days. So I have the upper hand right now and hopefully we can keep it like that!”
The elder Lee may have conceded defeat after a T36 result last year but Minjee already has one up on her brother, after winning the 2014 Oates Vic Open as an amateur at the age of 17.
Minjee is the only female to have claimed the title before turning pro and brother Min Woo will be looking to join Robert Allenby (1991) and Brad Lamb (2000) as just the third male amateur to win the Oates Vic Open.
“That would be amazing,” said Lee. “We both won the US Junior and we were the first brother and sister to do that, so that was really cool. Definitely winning a pro tournament as an amateur, that’s another thing. I’ve played with most of these professional guys now in the starts I’ve gotten on the Aussie tour and at the Australian Open. I’m a much better player than last year so I’m hoping I can be near the top of the leaderboard again.”
Min Woo will enter the 2018 Oates Vic Open as the favourite to again finish as the men’s Low Amateur amongst a talented crop of Australia’s brightest young stars, including Victoria’s triumphant 2017 Interstate Series team.
“I had the lowest round of the day on Sunday, so I think when I finished I was pretty close to the lead until the leaders ran away with it,” said Lee. “I enjoyed playing the course and I think I have an advantage with playing in the wind because Perth is pretty windy.“
The Oates Vic Open’s unique format – where men and women tee it up in alternating groups for equal prize money – will again provide the Lees an excuse for a family holiday of sorts.
“It’s awesome to play with the ladies to mix it up and generate a bit more excitement,” said Lee.
“I’m pretty sure the whole family is going to be there, I know Dad and my Mum and Grandma will come over and support us. It’s good to have the family back together. We don’t get that much time together so it’s good to get us all there and have kind of like a holiday because the whole year, it’s pretty much just golf.”
The Hon. John Eren MP, Victoria’s Minister for Sport, is looking forward to welcoming the West Australian siblings to the state.
“Having Australia’s number one female golfer Minjee Lee and younger brother Min Woo compete together is sure to inspire more people and more families to get active,” said Minister Eren.
“The Andrews Labor Government is working hard to keep our status as Australia’s home of golf – we’ve already locked in the Presidents Cup in 2019 and the Australian Open in 2020 and 2022.”
City of Greater Geelong Mayor Bruce Harwood says the inclusion of the Lees for 2018 will further strengthen the men’s and women’s fields.
“The City is proud to sponsor the 2018 Oates Vic Open and the inclusion of Minjee Lee and her brother Min Woo in an already high-quality field further ensure a memorable four days of golf,” said Mayor Harwood.
“If you love the sport, or just want to experience a world class event in one of our region’s most spectacular locations, make sure you get along to this year’s Oates Vic Open.”