Dogwood Invitational: S.M. Lee Rockets into the Lead
S.M. Lee is -11 through 36 holes at Druid Hills (Dalton State photo)
S.M. Lee is -11 through 36 holes at Druid Hills (Dalton State photo)

By Stan Awtrey

ATLANTA, GA (June 7, 2018) - After someone had the audacity to shoot 65 in the first round of the Dogwood Invitational, the field was greeted by a set of hole locations that were a bit more challenging. A pace on the other side of the ridge here, a couple steps over a bunker there. It was not friendly by design.

But no one bothered to tell Buford’s S.M. Lee. He went out and shot a 64, which paired with his first-round 69, leaves him at 11-under par. Lee will take a two-shot lead at the midway point of the 52nd Dogwood Invitational at Druid Hills Golf Club.

“I know someone probably isn’t going to be happy to see a 64,” Lee said. “The pins may have been a little harder today. I just got some good breaks. I kept calm and kept playing my game.

Tied for second at 9-under 135 are first-round leader Jake Fendt of Kennesaw State, David Laskin of the University of Arizona and Ashton Poole of the University of Virginia. Fendt shot 70, Laskin had a 69 and Poole fired a 66.

Tied for fifth at 8-under are: Chandler Eaton of Duke, who shot 67; William Nottingham of Clemson, who shot 69; and Jacob Solomon of Auburn, who shot 70.

Zachary Healy of Georgia and Scott Stevens of South Carolina are tied for eighth at 137. Stevens shot 66 on Thursday.

Defending champion Lloyd Jefferson Go shot 68 and is tied for 21st at 140.

Luke Schniederjans, who hopes to follow his older brother Ollie to the PGA Tour, is also at 140 after a 71 on Thursday.

Lee just finished his sophomore season at Dalton State, where he won the Jack Nicklaus Award that’s given to the nation’s best college player. Lee is only the second NAIA winner to win back-to-back seasons. He was selected to represent the United States in the Arnold Palmer Cup (the first NAIA player to do so) and will turn professional before the end of the summer.

But right now his goal is to win the Dogwood Invitational.

“Whenever I play, I’m always out to win,” Lee said. “That’s what I’ll be trying to do this weekend.”

Lee made a bogey on the first hole, but did little wrong the rest of the day. He made four straight birdies, No. 4 through No. 8, to shoot 33 on the front. He closed with three birdies on the back nine, including a 10-foot slider from above the hole at No. 18, to shoot 31.

“This is a really big event,” Lee said. “A lot of Tour players have played it. Just to be in the same group as those kind of players means a lot. Winning this is something I’d love to have on my resume.”

Fendt couldn’t get the putts to drop like he did in the first round. He said there were four putts that were within 10 feet that didn’t fall. He missed a short birdie putt on 16 and a five-footer at No. 18.

Related: Fendt Sticks to Game Plan, Leads Dogwood Invitational at -7

“That’s golf,” he said. “Sometimes that happens. I’m disappointed, but I’m still in it.”

Results: Dogwood Invitational
1NCAshton PooleCharlotte, NC100069-66-64-67=266
2GAChandler EatonAlpharetta, GA70069-67-69-65=270
T4TNWilliam NottinghamKingsport, TN50067-69-65-72=273
3GAS.M. LeeBuford, GA50069-64-70-68=271
T4CAJacob SolomonDublin, CA50066-70-68-69=273

View full results for Dogwood Invitational

ABOUT THE Dogwood Invitational

Tournament week is June 6-11 at Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. The entry fee includes breakfast and lunch tournament days as well as special events.

The history of this prestigious event extends back to 1941, when legendary amateur Tommy Barnes captured his first of five Dogwood titles. Evolving with the times, the modern Dogwood has produced fine champions like Webb Simpson (’07), Brian Harman (’09), Dawson Armstrong (’15), and in 2019 Brandon Mancheno. This evolution can be seen also in our course renovations and set-up, our relaxed tournament atmosphere, and our spirit of social responsibility.

Players are required to walk during tournament play and may carry their golf bag themselves (push carts are allowed) or take a caddie. Caddies may be requested in advance during registration, or players may select one on their own.

Player housing is provided on an as available basis to players only, caddies and traveling companions are not provided housing.

View Complete Tournament Information

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