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Lee Becomes Youngest Winner Of US Amateur

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

25 August 2008 - New Zealand golfer Danny Lee has become the youngest player to win the US Amateur Golf Championship.

The 18 year old produced some sublime golf to win the final 5 and 4 against American Drew Kittleson at North Carolina today.

The Rotorua player, who turned 18 last month, is six months younger than Tiger Woods when he first won the US Amateur.

Lee rammed home a remarkable 12 birdies in an astonishing display to demolish the American who shot a superb five-under par but was no match for the kiwi.

"I played incredibly well today and I don't think I can play better than this, I think I played perfect golf. I'm really happy with myself and how I played," Lee said.

It was the second major victory for New Zealand at the famous Pinehurst No 2 course, the same venue that Michael Campbell won the US Open in 2005.

"We're just the same New Zealanders, and we won at the same golf course, which is really nice," Lee said.

Lee's victory sets up a start in the world's greatest golf events next year - the US Open, the Masters and the British Open, as long as the Rotorua player remains an amateur. And it sets up a match up with Tiger Woods in the traditional pairing for the first two rounds of the US Open next year.

The ebullient Lee was surprised when he was informed of the pairing with Woods.

"Oh, my God. That's a special thing for me. I'm going to beat him."

Lee found himself behind for the first time this week in today's final but by the ninth hole he had squared the match before turning up the heat with four birdies on the back nine to take a 5-up lead into the break.

Kittleson reduced the margin to two holes by the 25th in the afternoon including a chip-in but it did not faze the young New Zealander.

"I got to play well and I need to just keep focused on my game and just try and make birdies from there," Lee said.

Lee just flicked the switch with birdies at the seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th, 13th and 14th in an astonishing display to claim the match and the championship.

New Zealand Golf chief executive Bill MacGowan said the victory was great reward for an outstanding young talent.

"From a New Zealand Golf perspective, this result is huge," Mr MacGowan said. "From a personal viewpoint this is the results of his remarkable personal development, his incredible attitude, work ethic and dedication.

"I believe it reflects well on our High Performance programme which has supported Danny closely."

Mr MacGowan said New Zealand Golf High Performance manager David Graham has worked closely with Lee and his family and is actively involved in managing and advising as he looks at a professional career.

"New Zealand Golf has changed in that respect. We want all of our top amateurs to end up with a successful professional career if they choose that pathway, and we will actively assist in that process."

Lee is expected back in New Zealand next week.

Result, US Amateur Championship final: Danny Lee beat Drew Kittleson (USA) 5 and 4. Lee led 5-up after 18 holes.

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