Lee the man to beat at Lake Macquarie
BY Anthony Powter | Australian Mens Amateur Tour | 2008 Lake Macquarie Amateur | Round Two | 25 Jan 2008
Kiwi whiz kid, Danny Lee, retained his overnight lead at the Lake Macquarie Amateur following a second round five-under-par 67, to be eleven-under. Lee is five ahead of Tim Stewart, after the former Australian Amateur Champion and 2007 British Amateur runner-up, fired a 68, to be at 6 under-par and outright second.
Luke Bleumink also fired a 68 to join Mathew Griffin and Michael Smyth, at five-under-par in third position.
Lee, ranked 9th in the world amateur rankings (US Scratch Players), continues to make his mark at major amateur championships throughout the world. He’s developed into one of the most promising players to come out of New Zealand, since he first swung a club as an 8-year-old.
A quietly spoken young man, Lee identifies his main achievements so far as finishing runner-up at last year’s Dogwood Invitational and finishing 3rd at the 2007 GS Caltex Maekyung Open, an Asian Tour professional event. That’s not to mention winning his national amateur championship in 2007.
“I was very happy with my results in America to date,” said Lee, the first New Zealander in eight years to qualify for the 2006 US Amateur.
“My aim is to win as many of these amateur titles as I can and set myself for becoming professional.”
Lee , whose Korean name is Jin-Myung Lee, finished runner-up at the 2007 Callaway World Junior Championships in the 15-17 years age group, in a year where the 17-year-old secured four major amateur championships, including the New Zealand Amateur Championship and the New Zealand Under 23 Championship.
Whilst taking a five-shot lead into tomorrow’s third round many, including Stewart, believe the tournament is anything from over.
“Danny’s certainly playing well, but in a tournament like this and with the way the course is playing, especially through holes six to twelve, you can make that up,” remarked Stewart.
“I’m paired with him tomorrow, and I’ll be trying to stay in there and run him down. Sure, there will be a bit of match-play strategy going on out there, but you have to make your move on the third day to have any chance.”
Scott Arnold is another player capable of closing the gap on the leaders.
Arnold was runner-up to Andrew Dodt in the 2007 Australian Stroke Play Championship and winner of the 2006 Hong Kong Amateur. He returned a second round 68, to move seven shots from the leader.
The Lake Macquarie Amateur again is shaping into another intriguing championship. When you consider the US Scratch Players ranking has the tournament ranked as the 17th highest amateur event in the world and the second highest ranked Australian event, you appreciate why the title is so sought after and fiercely contested.
As the weekend unfolds, it will again turn into another great contest of some of the best amateurs in the world. The last two years have required extra play-off holes, with Jason Day taking Englishman Adam Gee to the wire in 2006 and Blake McGrory, outlasting Justin Roach last year.
This year, the young Kiwi superstar Lee may have a different say in the outcome, but there are plenty of others here at Belmont ready to take the challenge to him.