Lee returns from injury to shoot 72 at Annika
REUNION, Fla. – If someone would have told Amy Lee she was going to shoot even par in her first round of the Annika Invitational, she wouldn't have believed it.
Due to tendinitis in her right wrist, Lee, of Brea, Calif., had restricted herself from all things golf. She only played three times in the last two months.
“I went to my sports medicine doctor, and sure enough he told me it was tendinitis,” Lee said. “I’ve been wearing my wrist brace and tendon tape everyday, as well as icing it every night.”
Her practice round Friday was her first round of golf of 2013, which made Saturday's performance – an even-par 72 at Reunion Resort's Watson course – all the more surprising. The USC verbal commit is in a tie for seventh.
Lee got off to a fast start with birdies on two of her first four holes. On No. 3, her ball landed about 4 feet short of an ace and she would settle for a tap-in birdie.
She made bogey on the 397-yard, par-4 fifth, but came right back with a nice sand save at No. 6 and carried her momentum to make birdie on par-3 seventh, which played as the fifth-most difficult hole of the day, after sticking it to 15 feet.
“My putting made my round today. When I needed it, I holed some putts,” Lee said. “Recently, maybe three months ago, I have gained a lot of confidence in my stroke. The way I just push it through to have confidence and jam it in the hole.”
Her putting stroke is similar to that of PGA Tour member Brandt Snedeker. She brings it back short and quick, with a long follow through.
The wheels started to come off on the back nine, though, as she made two bogeys and three-putted twice.
“My shots were shaky on my last few holes, and today, in general,” Lee said.
She’d hit the greens, but would give herself long attempts at birdies and that didn’t work in her favor.
“I had a hard time catching the speed of the greens because some of the greens were inconsistent, like some were fast, and some were slow,” Lee said.
Even though she accounted for 33 putts today, her putting is what really saved her from an even higher number Saturday.
After this event, it’s another long break (seven weeks) for Lee. Because of her injury, she wants to take time off for it to heal. And she plans on doing the same thing, restricting herself from all things golf.
Before she can do that, she wants to win this tournament.
“Yes, my shots were a little shaky, but overall I’m pretty happy about today,” Lee said. “I’ll be confident moving forward into tomorrow.”
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WU BY TWO: Bethany Wu, of Diamond Bar, Calif., shot a 4-under 68 to lead after Round 1. She has a two-shot lead over USC-bound Karen Chung, Cheyenne Knight of Aledo, Texas, and Emily Pedersen, of Denmark.
“I started off with pars until No. 7, and then I made my first birdie,” said Wu, who gave a verbal commitment to UCLA in September. “It was a really long putt too, and that just kick started my round.”
She attributed her putting as to why she shot so well.
“I made a few long ones and then a few short ones that really saved me,” Wu said.
Wu had a solid 2012, and it has carried over into 2013. She won the AJGA Junior at Centennial and finished in the top-10 five more times. Wu also finished 16th at the Joanne Winter Arizona Silver Belle, which is an amateur event.
She is looking to capture her third AJGA title, but her first invitational.
“My game plan is the same as always, stay calm and don’t get too excited if you make a birdie or something, and most importantly, play all the way to the 18th hole.”