Alison Lee WDs from Kraft Nabisco Championship
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. Alison Lee certainly can attest to the ebb-and-flow nature of competitive golf. Lee says her game left her last month, and she cited that poor play as the reason for her withdrawal from the Kraft Nabisco Championship, which begins Thursday.
“Every year I always go through this little phase where I lose the feel for my game,” said Lee, who has signed to play for UCLA in the fall.
Lee was one of nine amateurs granted a coveted sponsor exemption into this event. She was not replaced in the Kraft field.
Lee earned her Kraft spot last year in an early-week 18-hole junior qualifier hosted by the Southern California Golf Association. It was the fourth LPGA major start of her career. Last summer, she qualified for and made the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open.
The top-ranked girl in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, Lee already has been to the bottom of the game and back. She slumped hard in 2011, withdrawing before the end of the PGA Junior Championship and finishing last in stroke-play qualifying at the U.S. Women’s Amateur. In 2012, Lee won two AJGA invitationals, was runner-up at the U.S. Girls’ Junior and represented the U.S. in the Junior Ryder Cup. It’s proof her game comes back, and stronger than when it left.
Lee, from Valencia, Calif., withdrew from last week’s AJGA’s Winn Grips Heather Farr Classic, an event she won in 2010, hoping it would relieve some pressure heading into the Kraft. She also spent the Saturday before tournament week on the Mission Hills range hitting golf balls.
“I just couldn’t handle it,” Lee said. She withdrew on Sunday.
Lee works with Don Brown, based out of Harbor Golf Range in Wilmington, Calif., who also has worked with Angela Park and Jenny Shin. Still, Lee says it’s not just about swing.
“It’s always a mental thing, my head just gets so wrapped up,” she said.