Date: July 21, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Freddy Lee pulls off the great escape

Freddy Lee pulled off a miraculous escape today to keep alive his US Junior Amateur hopes in Tennesee.

And his good mate and namesake Min Woo Lee ensured the Perth-powered Aussie charge continued twofold when he also advanced from the round of 64 matchplay at the Honors Course in Ooltewah.

But it was Freddy who stole the show, never once leading in his match before victory on the first extra hole.

After seedings were finalised following a delayed strokeplay phase playoff, Lee went out a slight favourite at No.17 against Nicolas Cassidy, No.48.

But it was the bespectacled Georgian who held sway from the outset when he birdied the first two holes to take a 2-up lead.

Freddy battled back to square the match through five holes, but again found himself down by two holes after bogeys at the seventh and eighth holes.

Another bogey on the 11th sent the Royal Perth member back to two-down, but pars on the 12th and 13th were good  enough to draw level again.

Cassidy twice went 1-up late in the match with pars on the 14th and 16th, but each time the plucky Australian wouldn’t be denied.

The two stood on the 18th tee all square and halved the final regulation hole to send them up the 19th – the tough 410-yard first which Lee duly birdied to put his nose in front for the first – and ultimately only important – time of the round.

Freddy advances to play China’s Wocheng Ye, the 16th seed, who also survived a tight match, winning 1-up against Oregon’s Nate Stember.

Min Woo Lee, the third seed, will face Californian Chase Furey in the round of 32 after he, too, battled to a match he was ranked to win.

Florida’s Chris Nido twice was 1-up against the Golf Australia national squad member in a tight match with many holes halved in pars.

But a birdie-par run on the 12th and 13th holes gave Min Woo a 2-hole buffer which he nursed home for a 2&1 win despite losing the 15th hole with a double-bogey.

The rounds of 32 and 16 will be played tomorrow.