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Amateur golf: Elite Lee short of U.S. title

Valencia High’s Alison Lee plays a shot at the 11th hole during the morning 18 of the final round at

Posted: July 21, 2012 9:13 p.m.
Updated: July 21, 2012 9:13 p.m.

Valencia High's Alison Lee plays a shot at the 11th hole during the morning 18 of the final round at the 2012 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City on Saturday.

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Valencia’s Alison Lee had it.


She was 3-up on Australia’s Minjee Lee, the world’s eighth-ranked amateur player, after 30 holes at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship on Saturday at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, a victory in her grasp.


But the Valencia High senior just couldn’t hold on.


On her final six holes, Lee made three bogeys and Minjee Lee closed in and closed out the Santa Clarita Valley’s best girls golfer to win the most prestigious girls U.S. championship 1-up.


Alison Lee was heartbroken after.


“It does feel really great to make it this far, but being second place feels worse than being last place,” Lee said. “I tried really hard this week, and it does feel really good to make it this far out of 156 girls. I feel like I gave it away. I had so many chances to be up. I’ve been in second place many times. It’s not the best feeling in the world. You feel you could have always done a little better — a few strokes, another shot could change anything from being first place and runner up.”


It was a golf epic.


Lee, after already playing 114 holes over the last five days, stared at the possibility of another 36 on Saturday.


Lee began the day by teeing off slightly after 9 a.m. and making a birdie on the par-4, 404-yard first hole, continuing an outstanding run in match play which saw her come into the day shooting 12-under over the last 61 holes.


But three bogeys got her into trouble in the first-half of play and the Australian golfer went 1-up after the first 18 holes.


“It was mentally draining and after the first 18, I was only one down,” Lee said. “I knew I had to stay calm and rely on my game.”


After a break, play resumed and Lee was a different golfer.


Through eight holes, she made three birdies. After 23 total holes, she was all square with Minjee Lee after she bogeyed to the Valencia resident’s par.


Between holes eight and 12, Lee made her move.


Birdies on 8 and 9 to Minjee Lee’s pars moved Lee 2-up.


Minjee Lee bogeyed 12 to Lee’s par to get Lee to 3-up, her largest lead of the afternoon.


Lee, though, went bogey-par-bogey-bogey, on the next four holes, while Minjee Lee played steady golf.


Lee had opportunities to come back on the final two holes.


Her birdie putt from 15 feet on No. 17 stopped next to the cup.


On 18, she missed another birdie putt from 15 feet.


Minjee Lee closed Alison Lee out on the 36th hole a little after 4 p.m., as both golfers went par.


“I really, really wanted to win, especially this tournament,” Lee said. “But my gosh.”


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