Giles out, Lee makes move at US Amateur
BY Anthony Powter | US Mens Amateur Tour | 2008 US Amateur Championship | Matchplay Round One | 21 Aug 2008
World number one amateur, Danny Lee has made his move at the 108th US Amateur being played at Pinehurst in North Carolina.
The 18-year-old defeated David Bartman 4&3 in the opening match play round to set up a second round encounter against American Jacob Burger.
It’s been a tremendous few months for Lee with the pinnacle coming with his move in to the world number one position during last month’s Western Amateur.
Lee became only the sixth player in the 106-year history of the Western Amateur to sweep the medallist and matchplay honours, joining a group that includes Phil Mickelson and Curtis Strange. A week earlier he was awarded the William C.Campbell Award following the Porter Cup, a prize given to the player who records the low aggregate score in the Northeast Amateur, Players Amateur and Porter Cup – all three major amateur events in the US.
The day after winning the Western Amateur, Lee was the medallist at the US Amateur Qualifier at Piper Glen Golf Club in Springfield, Illinois. Then came a tie for 20th last weekend in his PGA Tour debut at the Wyndham Championship.
Those performances leave Lee as one of the favourites for the championship this week. When you also consider that Lee had no practice rounds at Pinehurst because he was playing at the Wyndham Championship, the enormity of his achievement at this championship sinks in.
Others in the US Amateur field were already at Pinehurst, practising, but Lee arrived Sunday night for an early morning tee time the next day. He said he tried to offset the lack of practice by hiring a local caddie as opposed to his uncle, Rambert Sim, who’s carried his bag this summer.
“It help me tremendously, especially with my yardage into the green and placement on the fairways,” Lee said.
“I would say Pinehurst is a course that does not suit my game. I’ve battled a little with it, but it’s being set up fairly and it’s great for match play. I learnt a lot playing the Wyndham Championship and that’s certainly helping me play this week.”
Lee, who was the twenty-third match play qualifier will meet number ten qualifier Jacob Burger in the second round of thirty-two tomorrow.
Berger, ranked 473th in the world, is a relative newcomer to major amateur golf having, like Lee, only recently advanced from the junior amateur ranks. Berger was a qualifying medallist for this championship and the American’s best result coming in this week is a T4 finish at the 2008 South Carolina State Amateur. Berger advanced with a 2&1 win over Florida’s Michael O’Neal.
It is the second time the US Amateur has been held at Pinehurst, however, it has played host to numerous USGA Championships including the US Open in 1999 and 2005.
“The more that I play the course the more I’m getting used to it,” said Lee after today’s match on the famed No.2 Pinehurst layout, which will also host the 2014 US Open.
“I am still driving the ball well and putting well, so I’ll take each match as it comes. My game is feeling strong after the weekend. That was just a great experience to play a PGA Tour event, to be treated so well and I feel really confident with my game here.”
Australian Matthew Giles, who was playing in his first US Amateur was among the 26 players to playoff for the final two qualifiers earlier this morning. He was unable to progress to the match play segment, getting knocked out after needing a birdie on the first hole to progress.
“All in all it’s been a good week here at Pinehurst,” remarked Giles. “I’m looking forward to getting back to Australia to play the interstate series and I’m taking a lot away from this championship.”