Dealing with the pressure of a big tournament, the weight of expectation both internal and from outside and managing a score even when it feels like your game has deserted you.
Min Woo Lee got a front row seat today as one of the best in the business showed off all these skills and more at the 102nd Australian Open, the lessons learned from 18 holes with Jordan Spieth ones that will stay with him for his golfing life.
Lee was ecstatic late Friday when he learned he would be paired with the World Number Two for the third round though at the end of the 18 holes he was understandably disappointed with his 3-over 74.
What he lost in strokes, however, he gained in insight about just what it takes to be among the truly elite players in the world.
“Yeah, it was good fun,” an exhausted Lee told waiting media after his round.
“Golf wasn’t too good but, you know, being with Jordan, I learnt a lot from him, just how he goes about on the golf course and also learnt how he played and how he handled himself, and it was good fun.
“I’m sure I’ll see him in the future, but right now, getting that experience was really good.”
Spieth also struggled with his game on a breezy Sydney day but signed for a 1-under 70 to stay within shouting distance of the leaders.
Lee immediately identified the differences between the two and knows some of the areas he has to work on to take his game to the next level.
“It was a bit of a struggle for both of us, yeah, just what I was talking about earlier this week, the mental toughness side,” he said.
“He was just hanging in there. It was frustrating for both of us, but he just stayed in there and just kept his head strong.”
For his part Spieth liked what he saw of the Perth youngster despite Lee not having his best stuff.
“Incredible game, absolutely bombs a golf ball,” the three-time major winner said.
“He and I were talking about how we’ve struggled on the greens this week, but you can tell how solid and aggressive his stroke is, that he’s not afraid and he loves rolling the ball.
“We were both - it’s just been one of those weeks for us, but he has incredible talent that has an upside, tremendous upside, that he could certainly win on any tour at any point in time. He’s got all the shots.”
That’s beyond question and with the lessons learned today Lee’s progression to the next level will only come more quickly.
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