Amateur becomes youngest winner ever on European Tour



Perth, Australia (Sports Network) - When Danny Lee won the U.S. Amateur Championship last summer, he said it was like he was in "dreamland."

What comes after dreamland?

Lee shot a five-under 67 and became the youngest winner in European Tour history when he claimed the Johnnie Walker Classic title on Sunday.

The 18-year-old amateur from New Zealand birdied his last two holes and posted a 17-under-par 271 for a one-shot victory over three players.

Born on July 24, 1990, Lee passed Dale Hayes as the youngest ever winner on the European Tour at 18 years and 213 days old (Hayes was 18 and 290 days when he won the 1971 Spanish Open).

Lee was also the youngest U.S. Amateur champion ever, supplanting Tiger Woods for that honor last August just a month after his 18th birthday.

In addition, Lee became only the second amateur to win on the European Tour after Spain's Pablo Martin, who was a 20-year-old amateur when he won the 2007 Portugal Open.

The teenager was surprisingly subdued in his post-round interviews.

"My name's on that trophy forever," said Lee, who is set to turn pro after appearing in the Masters, where he earned an invitation by winning the U.S. Amateur. "It means a lot to me."

Japan's Hiroyuki Fujita (67), Chile's Felipe Aguilar (68) and England's Ross McGowan (70) shared second place behind Lee at 16-under 272. Because Lee is an amateur and ineligible for prize money, the runners-up received a larger portion of the purse.

Raphael Jacquelin (69) of France and England's John Bickerton (71) ended another stroke further back at 15-under 273, while English star Lee Westwood (67) highlighted a three-way tie at 14-under 274.

Lee began Sunday at The Vines Resort & Country Club trailing third-round leaders McGowan and Bickerton by two shots. For his first 13 holes -- where he made three birdies and two bogeys -- he was merely part of a large group flirting with the top of the leaderboard.

But Lee made his move over the last six holes.

He collected consecutive birdies at the 13th and 14th holes, then saved the second of back-to-back pars at the 16th after nearly hitting his tee shot into the water.

Lee rolled in a six-foot birdie putt at the 17th to move to 16-under -- where he joined clubhouse leader Fujita -- and two-putted from 25 feet at the 18th for his winning birdie.

As much as Lee clinched the victory with his closing birdies, McGowan let his chance at winning slip away. After carding an eagle at No. 9 to take a two- shot lead, McGowan later made two costly bogeys to fall back.

The mistakes benefited Lee, who was already thinking about the victory.

"After nine holes I was really pumped up [thinking] that I could win this tournament," said Lee. "I just kept saying to my caddy Jason, 'We can win this!'

"And then we finally did it."

02/22 03:04:48 ET


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