Alison Lee gained a new appreciation for the rigors of the LPGA Tour on Friday and walked out of Mission Hills CC with her head held high, having given her all as an amateur playing in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Lee, who gained a slot in the LPGA major by winning the fresh&easy-Kraft Foods Legacy Junior Challenge on Tuesday, shot a 4-over-par round of 76 Friday, leaving her at 11 over par for the tournament, 79-76 – 155.
“It was a really great opportunity for me, and I really learned a lot – not only about what it means to be out here in a professional tournament but about myself and what I need to learn and grow as a golfer.”
Lee, 17, of Valencia, had a rough time of it for the second day in a row, with four bogeys in her round. Over her two days of golf in Rancho Mirage, she had a birdie, seven bogeys, a double bogey and a triple. She struggled with her drive on Thursday, and said she just couldn’t get her putts to fall on Friday.
And yet, “I tried to make the best out of everything,” she said. I tried to be happy, keep smile on my face and live the moment.”
Someday, Lee wants to be among these same players on the LPGA Tour. It’s been a dream of hers since her dad, John, brought her out to the Kraft Nabisco when she was 8, 9, 10 and 11 years old (by the time she was 12, she was busy with junior tournaments). “I tried to learn from what they did,” she said of the LPGA stars.
Before her appearance in the Kraft Nabisco, Lee also learned from Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel, two LPGA legends who weren’t about to let their mentoring end with the Legacy Junior Challenge. A day after that event, they walked Lee around the back nine of the tournament course, coaching her on what she needed to know, since she didn’t get an opportunity to play a practice round.
And during the Kraft Nabisco competition itself, Lee said she welcomed the encouraging words of playing partner Louise Friberg of Sweden and of caddie Esther Lee of Los Alamitos, a junior who played in the Legacy Junior Challenge and then helped keep things loose while carrying Alison’s bag in the tournament.
To see Lee’s scorecards, click here.