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Valencia grad Lee stopped in quarterfinals

Posted: August 8, 2014 9:46 p.m.
Updated: August 8, 2014 9:46 p.m.

Darren Carroll/USGA

Allison Lee plays her tee shot on the 16th hole during the quarterfinal round of match play at the 2014 U.S. Women's Amateur at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y., on Friday.

 

It figures that it would take until the very last hole and one of the top amateur players in the world to finally stop Alison Lee’s momentum.

Lee, a Valencia High graduate, was eliminated in a quarterfinal match of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship on Friday after losing 1-up to Brooke Mackenzie Henderson at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y.

Henderson, a 16-year-old Canadian, is the second ranked amateur in the world, just above Lee at No. 3. They were the two highest ranked players remaining in the tournament.

“I was really looking forward to making it all the way this year,” Lee said in an interview with the United States Golf Association after Friday’s round. “I felt really prepared. I’ve been playing decent. But you know, there’s always another event. This is just one event out of the many I’m going to play in the future, so just learn and take whatever I can from this and just use it as experience because that’s always a good thing.”

Henderson capitalized on Lee’s bogeys on holes 12 and 16 to take a two-hole lead with two to play.

Lee fought back and birdied 17 to win the hole, but couldn’t replicate the result on 18.

“Alison is a great player and the whole time I was just trying to get up, trying to get up,” Henderson told the USGA after the round. “It was really even the whole way. It wasn’t really until 12 that I finally said, ‘You know what I can win this.’”

This was the second straight year Lee, a 19-year-old UCLA sophomore, advanced to at least the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur after she made it to the semis a year ago. The event began with 156 players on Monday and was whittled down to eight at the start of the day Friday.

Lee finished even par and tied for fourth place after 36 holes of stroke play on Monday and Tuesday. From there, she moved onto match play, where she beat August Kim, Jennifer Coleman and Eimi Koga in succession to move to the quarterfinals.

But Friday’s loss spelled an end to Lee’s seventh and final attempt at the U.S. Amateur as she intends to turn professional sometime in the next year.

“I feel like I’m ready to play professional golf and play against some of the greatest golfers out there because I feel like my game has been getting better and I feel ready,” Lee said. “And I want to be out there and compete against the best and push myself and move up a step.”

The first step in her pursuit of the pro circuit will be LPGA Qualifying School, which begins Aug. 26 at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

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