SYDNEY : Lee grabs Australian Open lead. Home hero sinks eagle at 18th to stay on course for back -to-back DP World Tour titles.

Min Woo Lee sunk an eagle at the 18th to surge into the sole lead at the Australian Open on Friday as he targets back-to-back DP World titles, while major winner Shin Jiyai took charge of the women's event.

Australia's hottest new golf star recovered from a bogey at the first to make six birdies before finishing with a bang on his way to a seven-under-par 64 to be 12-under at the halfway stage in Sydney.

'' It's always nice to make an eagle, but on the last hole, it's even nicer,'' said Lee, who convincingly won the Australian PGA Championship last week, following victory at the Macau Open on the Asian Tour.

'' Sometimes you play good and sometimes you play bad, and right now I'm playing good and having fun.''

Fellow Australian Cameron Smith was also celebrating after finding his touch again with a 68 to make the cut by two shots, having missed it by nine last weekend in Brisbane, after which he was close to tears.

But the 2022 British Open Champion has a mountain to climb to reelin the red-hot Lee.

'' It was a lot better today and could have been way less,'' said Smith after partnering Lee in front of big crowds. I did everything I needed to do except hole the putts, which is really frustrating.''

Scotland's Connor Syme thrust himself into contention for a maiden DP World Tour with a two-under 70 to be joint second on nune-under along with the American Patrick Rodgers, who also hit 70.

Smith's LIV Golf colleague Joaquin Niemann from Chile, Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas, and Australian Sam Brazel are eight under.

The mixed Australian Open involves men and women teeing off in alternating groups on the same course.

The Jack Nicklaus designed Australian Golf Club is the main venue across all four days, with the nearby Lakes Golf Club co-hosting play for the first two rounds. [AFP]


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