Date: February 22, 2009
Author: Chris Pike at the Vines, Sportal

Lee pulls off upset win

Eighteen-year-old New Zealand amateur Danny Lee has pulled off a stunning win at the Johnnie Walker Classic at the Vines in Perth after four birdies in the final six holes to finish at 17-under ahead of a host of hungry challengers. Lee, who was born in South Korea but emigrated to New Zealand with his family when he was aged eight, claimed the win on a dramatic final day with a five-under par round of 67 to finish a week where he shot 271 with earlier rounds of 67, 68 and 69. He only managed one-under on his opening nine holes on the final day and moved to even par for the day after a bogey on 12, but then caught fire. He birdied holes 13, 14 and 17 before having an eagle putt to move two shots clear on the 18th. He missed that, but still hit his birdie putt to have 32 on the back nine to secure an incredible win. Lee becomes the first amateur winner of an Australian PGA Tour event for 10 years, when Brett Rumford triumphed at the 1999 ANZ Championship a week after Aaron Baddeley won the Australian Open as an 18-year-old. Lee is also the youngest player to win on the European Tour and just the second amateur winner the Tour has had. His win was every bit as dramatic as overnight joint leader Ross McGowan&aposs collapse. The Englishman was 14-under coming into the final round and looked set for victory after an eagle on the par-five ninth hole. He then moved to 17-under and two shots clear after a birdie on the 12th but then it all started to fall apart just as victory seemed almost inevitable. The 26-year-old then bogeyed holes 14 and 16 to lose his lead and then required an eagle to set up a playoff with Lee on the final hole. He could only manage a birdie, though, to finish tied at 16-under for second place. Also on 16-under was Japan&aposs Hiroyuki Fujita and Chile&aposs Felipe Aguilar. Fujita had a brilliant round of 67 on Sunday to finish the tournament with seven birdies and just two bogeys. Aguilar also hit a four-under 68 but ultimately just fell short of the young amateur. Briton John Bickerton was also leading with McGowan overnight at 14-under and had a bad start to the day dropping a shot at the fifth hole, but got back on track with a birdie at nine. However, another bogey at 11 put him some way off the pace at 13-under. Birdies at 15 and 16 had him back within a chance of forcing a playoff if he could make up the two shots on Lee, but he only managed to par the last two holes. Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin came back from a slow start to his round to finish three-under for the day and finish at 15-under along with Bickerton. The best of the Australians were Adam Blyth, who managed a round of 67 on the final day to finish at 14-under, equal with West Aussie Michael Sim, who shot three-under on Sunday. British pair Lee Westwood and Paul Casey put themselves in contention with rounds of 67 and 66 respectively on the last day, but ultimately they left themselves with too much to do. Westwood finished on 14-under and Casey 13-under par. Austria&aposs Markus Brier, Japan&aposs Taichiro Kiyota and Spain&aposs Ignacio Garrido all finished on 13-under, with Nick Dougherty, Mardan Mamat, Graeme Storm, Tony Carolan, Pelle Edberg, Peter Senior and Robert-Jan Derksen finishing at 12-under. With Greg Norman and Camilo Villegas missing the cut, Anthony Kim was the highest-ranked player left for the weekend and scored five-under for the final day to finish at 10-under for his week at the Vines.