Min Woo Lee (L) and Drew McCullough (R) are tied at 4 under
(Sahalee and University of Wyoming photos)
SAMMAMISH, WA (July 5, 2017) - Min Woo Lee
of Australia and Drew McCullough
of Richland, WA each shot 4-under 68 to sit tied for the lead after the first round of the 23rd Sahalee Players Championship at Sahalee Country Club.
The co-leaders are two of 11 players in the 66-man field of elite amateurs to break par on the championship layout.
Lee and McCullough are both having stellar years. Lee, still just 17, has won the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur, and also won the 2017 Western Australia Amateur for the second time (he also won it in 2015), and was a finalist in the 2017 Australian Amateur.
McCullough, a rising senior at the University of Wyoming, won the Washington Open earlier this year, playing against the professionals, and finished tied for second last week in the Seattle Amateur, losing in a three-man sudden-death playoff. In 2016 he was a semifinalist at the PNGA Men's Amateur.
Lee arrived in the U.S. just three days ago, and only got a quick first look at Sahalee's tree-lined fairways over the past couple days. "I'm still suffering a little bit of jetlag," Lee said after his round today. "But it's all good. I played solid today, really solid. This is really a great course, already rank it in the top three of the courses I've played." Lee is currently ranked #44 in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rankings.
He will spend two months in the U.S., playing in the Western Amateur and U.S. Amateur, and will try to defend his title at the U.S. Junior Amateur.
Tied for second, one shot back of the leaders after each shooting 3-under 69, is Cole Madey of West Linn, OR and Sulman Raza of Eugene, OR.
Last week Madey, a rising junior at UCLA, was in the fourth group to tee off early this morning, and immediately posted his 69 to take an early clubhouse lead. "Yeah, I've definitely been playing well lately," he said. "It's been a good summer so far. I qualified for the U.S. Amateur last week as well, so I hope to keep it going here (at Sahalee)." Last week, Madey also won the Oregon Amateur.
"For me, I think the key is to stay aggressive off the tee. I hit a lot of drivers here despite all the trees. You just need to stay aggressive on this course."
The SPC is being contested over 72 holes of stroke play. The second and third rounds will both be held Thursday, July 6, and the final round held on Friday, July 7.
Past champions of this prestigious amateur championship include Kyle Stanley, Casey Martin, Peter Uihlein, Nick Taylor, Daniel Summerhays, Ryan Moore, Chris Williams, Arron Oberholser and Jason Gore, among others, all of whom would go on to win on the PGA or European tours. The SPC scoring record at Sahalee is the 16-under 272 (68-69-68-67) shot in 2004 by Moore, a native of Puyallup, WA.
Sahalee Country Club has been the site of the SPC since 1992, and has hosted numerous top-level events in golf, including the 1974 PNGA Men's Amateur, 1978 Pacific Coast Amateur, 1998 PGA Championship, 2002 WGC-NEC Invitational, 2010 U.S. Senior Open, and 2016 KPMG Women's PGA Championship.
ABOUT THE Sahalee Players Championship
Inaugurated in 1992, the Sahalee Players
Championship (SPC) at its inception strove to
annually showcase the best amateur golfers in
the Pacific Northwest. As the stature of the
club continued to grow as a result of hosting
the 1998 PGA Championship and 2002 World
Golf Championships-NEC Invitational, the SPC's
founders decided to make the SPC a truly
international amateur event. As such,
invitations to the Sahalee Players
Championship are extended only to the finest
amateur players worldwide. Those asked to
compete will face the same challenge as the
professionals at the PGA Championship and
WGC-NEC Invitational — 72 holes at stroke
play over Sahalee's demanding South and
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