Andrea Lee hopes to follow in Alison Lee's footsteps
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Andrea Lee toted the bag for the No. 1 junior player in the world during the 2013 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship round of 32. She watched as Alison Lee defeated Katelyn Dambaugh in 19 holes, supporting her friend and picking up a few tips along the way.
Andrea did not know then that she too would take the top spot in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings. She replaced senior Nicole Morales as the highest-ranked player last week. Now she wants to pick up a few of the other accolades Alison held during her junior days.
"I was really shocked. I wasn't expecting to reach the top," Lee said. "I compete against so many great players. Even though I haven't really won anything yet, it's great to be part of that circuit."
Lee, a class-of-2016 Stanford commit, has yet to win an AJGA tournament – compared with Morales' three wins – but has benefitted from a strong schedule and consistency. Lee played the strongest schedule among juniors girls, according to Golfweek's rankings, and has finished in a tie for 10th or better in 13 of her past 18 events. Her top two showings came at the Rolex Tournament of Champions and The Ping Invitational, where she finished runner up.
"Andrea is a very young and talented player. Her game is so accurate and she rarely makes any costly mistakes on the course," Alison Lee said. "She is very hard working and strong for being able to be one of the youngest girls out there and still manages to play great golf and beat everyone."
Andrea looks up to Alison, who has helped lead the UCLA Bruins to the NCAA Championship as a rookie. Andrea said her biggest goal as a junior is to win the Rolex Player of the Year award, which Alison received in 2013.
But the most imminent goal Lee has set is the most practical. She just wants to win. The quest for her first major junior title picks up at the Thunderbird International Junior May 23.
"I really want to win the Thunderbird," Lee said. "I've been working so hard. I came runner up a couple of times (last year) and I was really disappointed. Hopefully this year I'll be able to win at least one."
Despite her relationship with the standout Bruin freshman, Andrea, a sophomore at Mira Costa High School in California, chose the Stanford over UCLA and USC.
"It was a very hard decision for me because they're all great schools with great golf programs," Lee said. "Even when I was young I always looked up to Stanford. When I visited I loved everything about it – the team, the coach. I'm really excited to be a part of their team now."
Andrea said Alison made a minor recruiting pitch but did not add any pressure.
"(Alison)'s kind of like an older sister to me," Andrea said. "She's a great player and I look up to her."
With plans to play in several AJGA invitationals, the U.S. Girls' Junior and U.S. Women's Amateur, the new No. 1 player will look to follow in her "sister's" footsteps and earn a trophy or two this summer.