[PHOTO: Getty Images]

An early stumble from Lucas Herbert opened the door for Min Woo Lee to finish the PGA Championship as the leading Australian in a lacklustre week for the Australian contingent.

No Australian was in the top 25 on the leaderboard at Valhalla, in Louisville, Kentucky, with Lee carding a solid final round of 67 to finish at nine-under-par and tied for 26th. But the world No.36 was a whopping 12 shots behind the winner, Xander Schauffele.

Lee put it down to his form with the driver on the weekend rounds. “My driving wasn’t too good the past couple of days,” Lee said. “If my driving was up to scratch, then I can definitely attack and make some more birdies. But I didn’t feel comfortable over the past two days, so it was quite tough to make some birdies. So I thought I did pretty good with my recovery [game] the past few days and, yeah, very happy.”

Lee, who posted a career-first top five in a major at last year’s US Open, said he was becoming more comfortable on the majors stage.

“I’m definitely trending in the right direction,” he said. “I feel like I’m slowly becoming a better player. I left some out there but that’s just how it is and I think we can learn from that. A solid week.”

Schauffele finally broke through the major barrier by getting up and down for birdie at the last hole for a 65 to finish at 21-under-par, one shot ahead of Bryson DeChambeau. Schauffele’s final-hole birdie avoided a playoff against 2020 US Open champion DeChambeau. Viktor Hovland was third.

Herbert was in range of bagging a career-first top-10 result at a major when he started the final day six shots behind third-round leaders Schauffele and Collin Morikawa. But the 28-year-old from Bendigo made a double-bogey on the first hole and never recovered – marking just one birdie on his scorecard for the final day. He shot a three-over 74 to plummet to a tie for 43rd at six-under.

As for the rest of the Australians, 2015 PGA Championship winner Jason Day signed off with an even-par 71. The former world No.1 tied for 43rd with Herbert. Cameron Smith, the 2022 Open champion, also walked away disappointed with a final-round 73 to drop to three-under, tied for 63rd. Adam Scott and Cameron Davis missed the cut.