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Min Woo Lee rides up-and-down day to best TOUR finish

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Lee is firmly in the mix to earn a PGA TOUR card via the DP World Tour Ranking at year’s end

    PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – On Saturday Min Woo Lee felt like he had the best swing in the world. In the final round he felt like nothing could go his way.

    But with a tie for sixth at THE PLAYERS Championship, Lee showed plenty of moxie in the final group at TPC Sawgrass alongside the newly minted world No.1 Scottie Scheffler.

    “I hung in there pretty well. I didn't have it all today,” said Lee. “Nice finish and I'm pretty proud of the result and I think it will take me a long way. It could have been a lot worse. That's for sure. It wasn't easy.”

    Lee opened his final round with a birdie but hit his third shot into the water on the par-4 4th en route to a triple-bogey 7. He went out in 2-over 38.

    Min Woo Lee cards opening birdie at THE PLAYERS

    “It's one of those… It's a short hole. It's not really a hole where you make bogey or more. If you make a bogey, whatever. But to make a 7 there, it was pretty gut wrenching after I started really well,” Lee admitted about his effort on the fourth hole. “But Scottie played really well and it was just… a battle from then. I tried to get it back, but I just didn't have my approach game today and that's something I got to work on. But, yeah, again, happy with the week.”

    Lee made a double bogey on the par-5 11th after struggling to punch it out of the pine straw before another bogey on No. 14. He bounced back nicely with a birdie on the par-5 16th and then knocked his tee ball to just 5 feet on the par-3 17th to add one last circle to his scorecard, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

    Min Woo Lee's tight tee shot leads to birdie at THE PLAYERS

    He ended up shooting a 4-over 76 and finished tied for sixth. Scheffler shot a final-round 69 to win by five shots over Tyrell Hatton.

    Despite being paired with the eventual winner, Lee was not afraid to try to rev up the crowd throughout the day. Lee admitted he knew the spectators were favoring Scheffler through the balance of Sunday, but he felt the crowd was “very good” as he navigated a tricky TPC Sawgrass.

    “There (are) so many people around 16, 17, 18, which is an unbelievable scene. Yeah, it was all fun,” said Lee. “It’s hard to engage the crowd when you've just made triple bogey and double bogies and you're trying to keep your head up high. But just for a second there you just have to stop and really look at the crowd and (realize) you're here for a reason and you've done really well.

    “That was probably the most people I've ever seen on one hole, on 17, so it was pretty cool.”

    Lee has played tremendous golf on the DP World Tour over the last four months, having not finished outside the top 13 in any of his last five starts. He finished tied for second at the season-opening Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Lee is firmly in the mix to earn a PGA TOUR card via the DP World Tour Ranking at year’s end. The leading 10 players on the DP World Tour Rankings at the end of the year who are not already exempt on TOUR will earn PGA TOUR cards for the following season. Lee sits third on the Race to Dubai rankings and earned his way into THE PLAYERS thanks to being in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings after The Honda Classic.

    Now Lee is inching closer to Special Temporary Membership.

    “I'm excited. Hopefully I can play well in the next few PGA TOUR tournaments I play in and can play out here,” said Lee. “I’ve been in final groups quite a lot lately, and to be on the PGA TOUR in one of the biggest PGA TOUR tournaments, it's awesome. I mean, if I just keep putting myself in those positions, hopefully I can get a Sunday done.

    “But it's another top-10 finish and I'm really proud.”