6 Jul 2015

Majors now beckon for Lee

6:31 pm on 6 July 2015

Former teenage prodigy Danny Lee secured his long-awaited breakthrough when he parred the second extra hole to win a four-way playoff at the Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia.

The victory was the first on the PGA Tour for the New Zealander, who beat Canadian David Hearn at the Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs.

Lee and Hearn had birdied the first extra hole, the par three 18th, where they both made 15-foot putts to eliminate Americans Kevin Kisner and Robert Streb.

The victory earnt him almost $2 million but the bigger payday is that he now gets a crack at several of golf's major tournaments.

The 24-year-old Rotorua golfer won a four-way playoff on the second extra hole at the tournament in West Virginia, which also books his place at the British Open, which starts next week, as well as the PGA Championship and the next Masters.

Danny Lee on his way to victory at the Greenbrier Classic, 2015.

Danny Lee on his way to victory at the Greenbrier Classic, 2015. Photo: Photosport

"It feels pretty amazing. It's my first PGA Tour victory. It is a life-changing putt and I'm very excited at being able to play in another major... The US Open was very tough, I got my arse kicked there - hopefully I will do a lot better (next time)," he chuckled today.

Lee will join fellow New Zealander Ryan Fox in the field at St Andrews.

His win is the first on the PGA Tour by a New Zealander in 10 years, after Michael Campbell's US Open win in 2005.

Lee said he hoped his victory would inspire others in both New Zealand and Korea.

"There's so many talented golfers in both Korea and New Zealand, and it's just so hard to come all the way here to America and break into the PGA Tour... I just hope plenty of other New Zealand and Korean golfers can come out here. It would be pretty nice."

Lee was born in South Korea but is now a New Zealand citizen.

He won the 2008 US Amateur Championship at the age of 18, surpassing Tiger Woods as youngest champion of the event.

He made further history at the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia when he also became the youngest winner at a European Tour event.

But his progress stuttered in the ensuing years - until now.