Date: February 23, 2009
Author: Chris Pike, Sportal

Lee living a dream

Johnnie Walker Classic champion Danny Lee was in shock after his amazing win at the Vines but the exciting 18-year-old is aiming to follow in the footsteps of Tigers Woods. At 18 years and 213 days, Lee is the youngest winner on the European and Australian Tours, the first amateur winner of an Australian PGA Tour event for 10 years and only the second amateur to win a European Tour event in its history. Showing all the shyness and innocence of someone his age stepping into the world of seasoned professionals, Lee put in an incredible performance to win at the Vines in Perth with a consistently strong four days of golf. Without question the most impressive aspect of his week was how strongly he finished in the face of plenty of pressure. Coming into the final round, he was 12-under par and two shots behind leaders Ross McGowan and John Bickerton and after nine holes he was still at minus13. He was still the same score after 12, but then birdied holes 13, 14, 17 and 18 to become the outright leader with McGowan and Bickerton needing eagles on the final hole to equal him and force a playoff, but were unable to do so. “I still feel like I&aposm in a dream I hope nobody wakes me up. I was dreaming about that and my goal was to make the cut after two rounds and try to get into the top 10 or 20. I played extremely well the last few days and here I am,” Lee said. “Just don t take the phone calls (when asked how he will handle the attention). It&aposs easy. I&aposm just kidding, I get really nervous when I&aposm having this media stuff, but I don t actually hate it. I really like it.” Lee was born in South Korea, but emigrated to New Zealand with his family when he was eight. While there, he looked up to a couple of fine Kiwi golfers, as well as the man he now hopes to follow in the footsteps of. “Michael Campbell and Phil Taturangi were who I looked up to. Phil really helped me a lot with my swing and mental stuff. I always looked up to Tigers Woods as well when I was really young. He&aposs still my idol,” he said. “(I could be) the next Tiger Woods maybe, I can&apost compare to Tiger because he&aposs one of the greatest players in the world, the No. 1 ranked player and obviously I can&apost win three events in a row in the US Amateur, but I&aposll try to break his record on the PGA Tour.” While his achievements in Perth are still sinking in, Lee has some time over the next few weeks to decide his future. “Winning the European PGA event, it&aposs pretty amazing what I&aposve done. I&aposm playing Moonah next week and playing the two New Zealand events,” he said. “I hope to play the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Georgia Cup, the Masters and then I don t know what I&aposm going to do from there. The Georgia Cup is a US Amateur against the British Amateur winner in 36-hole matchplay.”