Lee over wedge rift, qualifies for Women's Open
History wasn’t going to repeat itself for Erynne Lee this year during U.S. Women’s Open qualifying. Last year, Lee earned her place among the most elite female golfers in the country by winning a playoff for a spot in the Women’s Open at Oakmont, only to find out minutes later that she had used two wedges that might have illegal grooves.
Lee had been under the impression that her pair of Ping Tour-W wedges were conforming when she entered the qualifier near Seattle. When tournament officials couldn’t find the clubs on the U.S. Golf Association’s conforming list, they were sent to USGA headquarters. Eventually, the wedges were deemed non-conforming, and Lee was unable to take the spot she had earned.
“The past is the past,” Lee said after qualifying for this year’s Women’s Open out of Industry Hills, Calif. “I still think about it here and then, but it didn’t really distract me. Before I came down to the qualifier, I made sure I checked my clubs. I made sure I talked to my parents and made sure they checked as well, just in case.”
Lee, of Silverdale, Wash., posted even-par 144 (72-72) to finish third at Industry Hills Golf Club and earn one of four qualifying spots. This will be her second trip to the Women’s Open, to be played at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. She also played in 2008 at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn.
The 17-year-old Lee entered sectional qualifying a week after winning the individual title at the Washington State High School 4A Championship. Lee and younger sister Katie, 15, represented Central Kitsap High School as individuals.
“My game has been up there these past couple weeks,” Lee said.
Rather than the sectional qualifier at Royal Oaks Country Club in Vancouver, Wash., Lee opted for Industry Hills, reasoning that a stronger field would make more spots available. Her family had been in the area for spring break, so she had a chance to see the course.
Lee will play for UCLA, the newly-crowned national champion, in the fall, and says she is finished with junior tournaments. She has a few Canadian Women’s Tour events on her schedule to fill out the summer, as well as the U.S. Women’s Amateur in August. Lee was one of three players to share stroke-play medalist honors at last year’s Women’s Amateur.