25 Aug 2008

Teenage Kiwi wins US Amateur Championship

2:43 pm on 25 August 2008

Eighteen-year-old New Zealand golfer Danny Lee has won the United States Amateur Championship in North Carolina - the youngest player to do so.

Lee, of Rotorua High School, beat Drew Kittleson of the US on Sunday in the 36-hole final at Pinehurst, North Carolina.

NZ Golf says his win is New Zealand's best performance ever in amateur golf - eclipsing even a win at the world team championship in 1992 for the Eisenhower Trophy.

Lee, who turned 18 only last month, will lead the New Zealand team at the Eisenhower Trophy in Adelaide next month.

The win gives him entry to the US and British Golf Opens and a probable invitation to the US Masters - as long as he retains his amateur status.

He is six months and 29 days younger than Tiger Woods was when he first won the tournament.

Lee, who was born in South Korea, has lived in Rotorua since he was nine. Kittleson is 19.

Previous winners of the tournament include:

Tiger Woods (1994, 1995 and 1996)

Jack Nicklaus (1959 and 1961)

Arnold Palmer (1954)

Bobby Jones (1924, 1925, 1927, 1928 and 1930)

Francis Oimet (1914 and 1931).

The tournament was first played in 1895.