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One monster putt has provided Min Woo Lee with a bit of impetus going into the second round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Min Woo Lee's hopes of a blistering finish to his successful European tour season have been boosted in Dubai by sinking a monster putt that secured him an under-par start to the DP World Tour Championship.
The Western Australian star had suffered a largely disappointing round on Thursday with plenty of scrambling after a double bogey at the opening hole, but battled back to level par before sinking a 49-footer at the short 17th on the Greg Norman-designed Earth Course.
The welcome, out-of-the-blue birdie enabled him to end with a 71 and join almost half the 50-strong field by finishing under par in the season-ending championship with a $US 3million ($A4.6 million) winner's cheque on the line.
It kept the 25-year-old Lee, who's ninth in the tour's 'Race to Dubai' order of merit, firmly in the hunt, despite finishing four adrift of the three round-one leaders - Denmark's Ryder Cup star Nicolai Hojgaard and the French pair of Julien Guerrier and Matthieu Pavon, who all shot 67s.
In all, 23 players recorded under-par rounds, while the other Australian in the field, Lucas Herbert, was just a shot further back on level par, having had three birdies and three bogeys in his 72.
Lee did well after his opening-hole problems, when he compounded missing the green by then three-putting, as he birdied the next two holes.
He finished in the same score as the Race to Dubai winner Rory McIlroy, who had an eventful round of 71, featuring five birdies, four bogeys, an amazing par on the last and an even more remarkable tee shot at the 13th that found a most awkward lie - in a female spectator's lap.
The ball had lodged between the spectator's legs as she was lounging at greenside, causing much laughter and considerable bemusement for McIlroy, who, unsurprisingly, decided to ask for the referee when he saw her.
Eventually, it was decided that the ball should be replaced where she had been sitting and McIlroy went on to bogey the hole.
But at the last, he had two great escapes after his drive bounced off rocks surrounding a creek and went into chip bark off the fairway. From there, he pulled his second shot into the creek, only to see it this time bounce out and on to a bridge.
Playing partner Jon Rahm, the defending champion, dropped shots on the 17th and 18th to finish at level par.
Afterwards, McIlroy, talking about why he had resigned from the PGA Tour's policy board, told Sky Sports: "I just think I've got a lot going on in my life between my golf game, my family and my growing investment portfolio, my involvement in TGL [an indoor golf league], and I just felt like something had to give.
"I just didn't feel like I could commit the time and the energy into doing that. I don't mind being busy, but I just like being busy doing my own stuff.
"Something had to give and there's guys that are on that board that are spending a lot more time and a lot more energy on it than I am. It's in good hands and I felt like it was the right time to step off."