Australian golf cult hero Min Woo Lee is enjoying a surge in popularity as he makes his way on the PGA Tour


Min Woo Lee’s cult figure status has reached new heights.

Fans have flocked to follow the Australian star over the opening two days of the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open.

Lee’s catch phrase “let him cook” has undoubtedly caught on, with hundreds of his supporters donning red-coloured ‘Let Him Cook’ chef hats.

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And he brought great delight to those fans at the third hole, chipping in for an eagle, which prompted a raucous round of applause.

Lee was tied for 47th at two-under after his second round, alongside fellow Aussie Adam Scott.

Canada’s Nick Taylor matched the course record in his rain-disrupted first round then battled to a one-under 71 in the second to share the Phoenix Open lead with Andrew Novak.

Taylor grabbed eight birdies in the delayed last 12 holes of his first round on the way to an 11-under par 60, then needed 10 more shots in his second round on the way to a 36-hole total of 130.

Novak, who also put in a marathon day, played the last nine holes of a first-round 65 in the morning, then had six birdies in another six-under 65 for his share of the lead.

Their closest rival in the clubhouse when darkness halted play was Maverick McNealy, who had six birdies in his second-round 67 for a 10-under total of 132.

Taylor, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, admitted to feeling a bit of whiplash after matching the TPC Scottsdale course record in the first round.

“It’s weird feeling disappointed after a 70, but this morning was pretty hard to follow up,” he said.

“Didn’t hit it great off the tee this afternoon, so I was grinding a little bit early on, but held it together, made some kind of key up-and-downs early on, and it was nice to finish the round under par.

“But this morning was obviously pretty special to make all those putts and shoot 60.”

Taylor opened his day with a nine-foot birdie on the 16th, his seventh hole, and made another on 18 before reaching the turn.

But it was on the front nine where he really hit his stride with three straight birdies, another on the par-four fifth and then finished off sinking birdie putts on the eighth and ninth — his final two holes.

“I made a bunch of putts, and that’s the most variable part of golf,” Taylor said.

“I actually hit quite a few good putts in the afternoon that either burned the edges and were just barely off in speed or line. That was a big difference. I also didn’t hit it quite as close.”

But he was in the clubhouse with a share of the lead as more than half the field had yet to complete the second round. Quite a few of them had yet to even tee off.

Round two was to resume Saturday night (AEDT), with the third round to follow.

Doug Ghim was nine-under through 16 holes when play was halted.

World number one Scottie Scheffler, seeking a third-straight Phoenix Open title, had five birdies in his five-under second-round 66 to headline a group on eight-under.

Justin Thomas and Cameron Young were also in the clubhouse on eight-under 134 while Ryan Fox was eight-under with three to play.

Novak, ranked 307th in the world and chasing a first PGA Tour win, is playing the tournament for the first time, but said the rowdy atmosphere helped carry him through the long day.

“Definitely been feeding off the fans,” he said. “I’m pretty tired right now — 27 (holes) was a lot, especially in the mud. It’s pretty sloppy walking around out there.”

Novak, who missed his first three cuts of the season, got off to a quick start in round two with birdies at the third, fourth and fifth — leaving himself less than two feet for birdie at the par-three fourth.

“I thought that was about to be a hole-in-one,” he said.

“Obviously you can’t see from the tee with where that pin was, but I could tell from the reaction of the people behind the green, it was close.”

— with AFP

Originally published as ‘Hundreds’ flock to Aussie cult hero Min Woo Lee as rival sinks 11 birdies in Phoenix