After early-year struggles, Lee is winning again
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Alison Lee has finally hit her stride.
After withdrawing from the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the AJGA’s Winn Grips Heather Farr Classic, the eighteen-year-old won the Rolex Girls Championship. She broke out of a third-round tie with Karen Chung after a final-round 2-under 70, claiming her third AJGA invitational title.
“I stayed pretty consistent,” Lee said. “I was winning after each day, and I put myself in a really good position.”
The following week, she won again. This time at the AJGA’s Mission Hills Desert Junior (where the Kraft Nabisco Championship takes place).
Lee’s steadiness and playing consistency may have stuck with her for the tournament, but it went astray in the months leading up to Rolex.
“I was kind of struggling with my game, so I withdrew,” Lee said. “I was really nervous coming into the tournament. I over-thought everything and I just game myself a bunch of additional pressure I didn’t need.
“I might have had a little swing problem or a glitch in my swing, and it kind of just kept growing in my mind. When I was just hitting the ball a little to the left or right I’d think so much of it.”
This isn’t the first time Golfweek’s top-ranked junior girl has bounced back after a slump. Lee withdrew before the end of the PGA Junior Championship and finished last at the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2011. In 2012, she won two AJGA invitationals and represented the United States in the Junior Ryder Cup.
“I have a little phase, a month or two where I can’t even hit the ball,” Lee said. “Every single year, I have a small time period where I go through the same thing.”
Setting the clubs down for a few weeks seems to be Lee’s trick to coming back stronger than ever before.
“She knows how to play,” said coach Don Brown. “Once her golf swing is right, she knows what to do. When she’s swinging decent, she’s a good player.”
It remains to be seen whether or not the UCLA commit will continue a winning streak next week at the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions, but Lee knows exactly what to do to step up her game.
“As a golfer, no matter how much you love it and it’s your hobby, you need a little bit of time off to get away from it. It is such a huge mental game. You just really need to balance it all out,” Lee said. “It can really get into your head.
“The strongest players out there are the ones who can handle it the most.”