A withering back nine charge under threatening skies has vaulted boom NSW amateur Rachel Lee to the top of the women’s Leaderboard at the ISPS Handa Australian Open.
Playing at the Lakes, Lee, from Avondale Golf Club, was business-like on her front nine; three birdies and a bogey saw her turn for home at two under.
It didn’t take long, however, before the show to start, and on the homeward run, the young gun reeled off five birdies and just a solitary bogey to post a six-under-par 67 for a one-shot lead.
And to add another element of drama to the occasion, Lee binned her final hole birdie putt with the heavens well and truly open.
“It was like a three-footer, four-footer, I didn’t really think much,” Lee grinned when asked about her finish. “I just wanted to get out of the rain, so a quick tap in.”
Lee said seeing her name on top of the Leaderboard was the last thing on her mind; she only found out she was the leader once she had signed her scorecard.
“I did try my best out there; shots were solid, putting was solid, and everything was going pretty good for me. I didn’t know I was the leader until one of the scorers told me after I finished.”
Lee made it into this week’s national championship by qualifying outright at Ryde-Parramatta on Monday. And in a pinch-herself-moment, Lee lucked into an 18-hole practice round with her idol and former world number one Jiyai Shin, an incredible opportunity to pick the mind of one of the game’s greats.
“She was telling me to challenge myself and shape shots, I used them quite a fair bit today, and it worked out really well.”