Lee crushes Lake Macquarie field
BY Anthony Powter | Australian Mens Amateur Tour | 2008 Lake Macquarie Amateur | Round Four | 27 Jan 2008
New Zealand’s golfing whiz kid obliterated the field at this year’s Lake Macquarie Amateur Championship with a final round 69, to finish the tournament 20-under-par, 10 shots ahead of nearest rival, Matthew Griffin who finished at 10-under-par.
Lee delivered his first body blow to the field, after opening with a birdie on the 398-meter, par 4 first hole. The Kiwi after today’s victory shares the tournament record with Marc Leishman (2005) and Chris Campbell (2002).
“This is special, because it’s my first international amateur victory,” remarked Lee.
“I putted well all week and that kept my score low. Today, I just kept driving the ball right and the putts were rolling.”
Michael Smyth, who had a one-in-one of the 12th, and Kyu ha Sim finished third, at 9-under-par, followed by two young-guns and first timers at Belmont, Matt Jager and Jason Scrivener, at 8-under-par.
Lee, ranked 9th in the world amateur ranking under the US Scratch Players ranking, 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 under the watch eye of his mother, herself a Korean golf professional, before moving to New Zealand when he was ten.
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.
The young Kiwi superstar Lee deservedly claimed the title at Belmont, having played all four-rounds in the 60’s. In previous years, more fiercely fought contests had evolved at Belmont, with extra-hole play-offs needed in the last two tournaments. This year, Lee made sure it would be different.
“You try and make a move early in the round to make the difference,” remarked Matthew Griffin, playing his first Lake Macquarie Amateur.
“I’m pleased with my game and how I played this week with two 68 rounds and a finish runners-up place, in my first attempt and in the season’s opening National Trial event. Danny obviously played too well this week and the result showed.”
There were 92 players in the field after the weekend cut, 24 finished under par, comparably fewer than in previous years. Conditions for the best part of the four rounds were favourable, and apart from a handful of players, scoring this year was poor.
There were no real challenges at Belmont to pressure Lee this week. In any event, with the way Lee played, it’s questionable if anything would have changed.
Lee also claimed the Junior Championship in the process and made his mark in the tournaments 51-year history in becoming another worthy winner of one of the world’s main amateur tournaments.