23 Feb 2009

Johnnie Walker victory "more important" than money - Lee

11:18 am on 23 February 2009

Teenage golfer Danny Lee says missing out on $A471,681 in prize money doesn't matter.

Lee, 18, won his first professional golf tournament - the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth, West Australia, on Sunday.

But because he's still registered as an amateur he cannot claim the winner's cheque. Lee says the victory was far more important.

It secured him a minimum two year exemption to the European, Asian and Australasian tours.

Lee already has an automatic place in this year's US Masters and US Open, on the condition he retains his amateur status.

He is considering turning professional after the Masters tournament in April, in Augusta, Georgia.

Lee won last year's US amateur championship. He was born in South Korea and his family moved to New Zealand when he was eight.

He took out New Zealand citizenship last year and intends to return home next month to play the New Zealand PGA and New Zealand Open before heading to the United States for the Masters.