23 Feb 2009

NZ amateur champ creates European professional history

5:35 am on 23 February 2009

The teenage New Zealand golfer Danny Lee further underlined his massive potential in Perth yesterday by becoming the youngest winner in the history of the European professional tour.

The 18 year old US amateur champion from Rotorua out-gunned a world class field to win the Johnnie Walker Classic with a closing round of 67 that included four birdies in the last six holes, including the 17th and 18th.

Lee, whose goal in Perth had been a top-20 finish, broke one of Tiger Woods record last year when he became the youngest winner of the US amateur championship, and his long term ambition is to become the next Tiger Woods.

Lee can't accept prize money as an amateur, but his win yesterday gives him a two year exemption on the European, Asian and Australasian tours, and he'll be turning pro after the US Masters in April.

The Korean-born Lee who emigrated to New Zealand 10 years ago with his family, credited his first time caddy - coach Jason Hamilton as a major factor in his win.

Lee will be playing the New Zealand PGA and Open championships in the first two weeks of March.