Tournament: ISPS HANDA Australian Open
DP World Tour Rankings: Tournament 3 of 39 events
Venue: Victoria GC and Kingston Heath GC, Melbourne, Australia
Prize Fund: AU$1,700,000
Hashtag: #AusOpenGolf #DPWT
Min Woo Lee is excited to make it a family affair when he tees it up at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open alongside sister Minjee, when the historic tournament features on the DP World Tour for the first time held on the world-famous Melbourne Sandbelt.
The marquee tournament is being played alongside the Women’s Australia Open at the same time and at the same venues, putting Australian golf on the world stage for two consecutive weeks with Fortinet Australian PGA Championship staged at Royal Queensland last week.
Victoria Golf Club is the primary host venue across all four days of the tournament and Kingston Heath Golf Club is set to host play on Thursday and Friday.
Two-time DP World Tour winner Min Woo comes into the event on the back of a top-five finish in the season opening Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and will hope playing again in front of home fans will inspire him to another strong showing.
World Number Four Minjee, who won her second Major Championship earlier this year, has never won the Women’s Australian Open despite being in contention on numerous occasions in eight attempts, with a best finish of third at Royal Adelaide in 2017.
Meanwhile, home favourite Lucas Herbert is determined to overcome a back injury that forced the 26-year-old to withdraw from last week’s Fortinet Australian PGA Championship. With some time off over the festive period to come, Herbert was determined to play to maintain some momentum as he looks to move up from 57th into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking and earn a place at the Masters Tournament.
Major winners Adam Scott, Karrie Webb and Ashleigh Buhai are also in the field, while Ryan Fox will hope to end a hugely successful 2022 in style after missing the cut last week at Royal Queensland following a hectic journey from the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Adding to the festival of golf atmosphere, the Australian All Abilities Championship @ the ISPS HANDA Australian Open is also taking place from Friday to Sunday at Victoria Golf Club.
Min Woo Lee: “Just to see the fam I think is a special thing. We don’t get to see each other that much, so just to put the band together, it’s pretty cool. We don’t get to do that, that often, so it is very cool. Then we can spend Christmas together, so I think with the schedule and all that, it works really well. It brings everyone together, which is awesome, and what we want and what we need. Especially in Australia, playing in front of the home crowd. It was special last week and I‘m sure this week will be even better.
“I think for both of us we’ve had very good years, so to look back and just give this one a hot crack. It doesn’t really matter how it goes, we’re obviously really happy with the way everything’s gone this year and we’re looking for a rest, but this is obviously a really big event in the schedule and we want to do well in our home event. We’re looking forward to it. We may be tired but I think we’re looking forward to how the week goes.”
Minjee Lee: I mean it’s pretty cool to be able to play with the men and also the All Abilities tournament that’s going on all at the same time. Obviously playing with Min Woo and being able to see him is really special to me. Just being back in Australia I think is really cool. I haven’t played in a couple of years back home, so I think it’s going to be a great turnout and I’m looking forward to seeing all the fans come out and maybe a lot of little kids here and there. I think it will be really fun.”
“I think the Australian Open, your national championship is always really high on the list. For me, I always want to do well. The previous Aussie Opens that I have played, I think I haven’t quite shown that as much, so hopefully I can settle the nerves and just enjoy it and just play well for me and play well for the Australian crowd.”
Lucas Herbert: “It’s a little bit like the Open Championship, winning at St Andrews versus winning at any other venues. You’re not going to say no to winning it at another venue, but it’s definitely a lot more special to win in on the Sandbelt, for me anyway, given I grew up basically around this area and have played a tonne of golf at both these golf courses.
“To win one here it would just be a lot more special than anywhere else where you don’t have that same connection. It would be very cool to be holding that trophy at the end of the week.
“I want to win the Australian Open. I don’t want to sit on my couch and watch someone else win it this week and we’ve got a lot of time off after this week as well.
“I think I’ll be playing Augusta next year, whether it happens at Christmas or whether it happens two weeks out from the tournament, I just think I’m playing well enough and I’m doing enough of the right things that if I keep sticking to that, that I will get inside that top 50 again and will be playing.”
Adam Scott: “I’ve had a great record generally at the Open, I just haven’t gotten across the line for a second time. It’s great to be back playing for our national championship. I generally feel good about where my game is. It wasn’t amazing last week, but it might have been the week I needed to warm up to have a crack at this one.
“Definitely helpful. Winning fills you with confidence. It’s hard to kid yourself into confidence like that. I’ve seen that happen several times for me down here in Australia, so that would be great. But I’m pretty spurred on to play well next year. I’m excited about what’s happening and what’s on offer next year for us, and the way I’ve kind of set myself up, a few changes here and there, I think it’s all looking like a lot of fun for me to play golf next year. But I’d love to be going in there with another trophy, for sure.”