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Min Woo Lee impresses in Saudi International's third round

Lee begins his professional career with big expectations (Photo: Bruce Young)
West Australian, Minwoo Lee, playing in just his second event as a professional, has made an impressive move on day three of the European Tour's Saudi International, his bogey-free third round of 63 improving him 41 places from his 36-hole position to share 6th place heading into tomorrow’s final round.

Lee may be eight shots behind the leading pair of Dustin Johnson and Li Haotong but he has served notice that his outstanding career as an amateur is about to develop even further in the professional ranks.

The former US Junior Champion debuted as a professional two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi where he missed the cut but he credited a discovery on the driving range before today’s round as the catalyst for his improvement.

“I found something on the range today,” said the 21 year old from the Fremantle Golf Club.

“Yesterday afternoon it wasn't pretty, so I found something this morning, and stuck with it. Yeah, it turned out well, a lot of momentum putts and yeah, I made a lot of birdies, so that's nice."

Lee is tied with Scott Hend as the leading Australian in his share of 6th place, Hend also showing improvement on recent efforts.

Hend struck trouble in the middle of his round, dropping three shots in two holes at the time but a late birdie has both he and Lee admittedly eight shots from the lead but just three shots behind second-placed Tom Lewis.

New Zealander Ryan Fox is tied for 4th with Alexander Levy after a third consecutive round of 67 has him one ahead of Lee and Hend.

Jake McLeod, who began the event so well on Thursday, slipped with a round of 73 and is now in 44th place through 54 holes.

The leaders Johnson and Li have opened up a five-shot lead over third placed Lewis, Li, in particular, in the spotlight as a result of the unfortunate two-shot penalty he received last week in Dubai when penalised for his caddy lining him up prior to a putt at the 72nd hole.

The penalty slipped him from 3rd to 12th but he appears to have plenty of support from the crowd, many of whom feel the penalty was unjustified.

Four of the leading five players in the world are in the field no doubt stretching the budget for the event to the limit in terms of appearance money but Johnson at least has played his part by taking a share of the lead with one round to play.

Of the other three, Bryson De Chambeau is tied for 15th, Brooks Koepka 61st and Justin Rose has had the weekend off.

 

      

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