BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (Aug. 3, 2007)--Twenty-year-old Lucas Lee, of Torrance, Calif., fired a 5-under-par 65 in Friday morning’s third round, then held on with a 1-over-par 71 in the afternoon to claim medalist honors in the 2007 Western Amateur at Point O’Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor, Mich.
Lee trailed second-round leader Rickie Fowler, 18, of Murrieta, California, by two strokes starting the day and still trailed by two after Fowler matched Lee’s 65 in the morning round. But Fowler faltered on the final 18, closing with a 75 to finish at 273, three behind Lee in a tie for third with Colt Knost, 22, Dallas, Texas.
Alone in second, just one shot back of Lee, was Alex Prugh, 22, Spokane, Washington, the first round co-leader at 65.
On the closing nine Friday afternoon, Prugh briefly tied Lee with a birdie at the par 4, 420-yard 16th. Lee, playing behind Prugh, knew the pressure was on to keep pace.
“I told my caddie to run up and see what Alex did, and he birdied,” said Lee. “I had a 10-foot putt for birdie on 16, and I knew I had to make it to stay ahead of him.”
Lee made the putt, and two holes later he was medalist of the 105th Western Amateur with a 271 total, adding his name to the Cameron Eddy trophy. Previous medalists include Phil Mickelson, Scott Verplank, Mark O’Meara, Curtis Strange, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Watson.
“It’s an honor to have my name on a trophy next to such great names,” said Lee, who earned 2007 third-team NCAA All-American honors this year at UCLA. “It’s a reminder that I’m on the right path. It’s exciting, but I know it’s only half over. It’s good I beat everybody in stroke play, but I want both”
The other “half” Lee wants is victory on Sunday when one of the tournament’s “Sweet 16 “qualifiers is named 2007 Western Amateur champion following two days of match play.