Golfweek’s Ron Balicki got in touch via e-mail with 18-year-old Danny Lee, who last weekend captured the Johnnie Walker Classic as an amateur, becoming the youngest player – and only the second amateur – to win a European Tour event. Lee, the 2008 U.S. Amateur champion, is competing this week at the Nationwide Tour’s Moonah Classic in Australia.
Q: How does it feel and how special is it to win a professional tournament?
A: I have dreamed of winning my first professional tournament for a long time, so it is a great thrill when that dream comes true. I am very excited about the future and feel like I was able to gain some valuable experience with this win that will help me when I turn pro.
Q: How nervous were you coming down the final stretch, and how did you handle the pressure?
A: I don’t think I had time to be nervous because I was so focused on what I had to do with each shot. My caddie did a great job in keeping my mind off my nerves and helping me concentrate. It was a difficult situation; there were many players right in the hunt all day, but I felt very in control of what I was trying to do, especially on the final six holes. Making birdies on 13 and 14, and saving par on 16, gave me an extra bit of confidence to finish it off, I think.
Q: Will winning this tournament change any of your plans as far as turning pro, or will you remain amateur through the Masters (in April)?
A: No, I am going to stick to the original plan.
Q: What was the reaction of your victory from other players, fans and the media, and how are you handling all this success?
A: Everybody has been very supportive and happy for me and I appreciate it. Many of them told me that I was the youngest player to ever win on the European Tour which is something to be proud of. It’s a feeling that I definitely want to feel again.