Andrea Lee wins her second SCGA Women's Amateur Championship
After one of the most impressive freshmen seasons in the history of collegiate golf, Andrea Lee of Stanford is not losing any steam this Summer. For the second time in the last three years, Lee has staked her claim as the top female amateur golfer in Southern California, coming from behind to win the 3rd SCGA Women's Amateur Championship at San Gabriel CC.
"To win the inaugural event at The Los Angeles CC in 2015 was really special and to win it a second time really means a lot," said Lee. "The best girls in Southern California compete in this event, so to win again feels really good."
Opening Day 1 with a tournament-leading 3-under par 68, Lee came out on fire to start Round 2 later that afternoon, putting together a streak of four consecutive birdies in her first five holes. Fatigue, however, would kick in for Lee, who was coming off a seventh place finish at the Canadian Women's Amateur Championship that wrapped up Friday. After going three shots up on the rest of the field and looking to be in cruise control at 7-under par, Lee would play her final 13 holes of the day in 5-over. Her 36-hole total of 2-under par would be good enough, however, for solo second place and a spot in the final pairing of the day Tuesday, linking her up with fellow Pac-12 golfer Amy Matsuoka of University of Oregon. Matsuoka would put together opening day scores of 69-68 to hold a three-shot overnight lead.
"I didn't change my game plan going into today just because I was behind a couple of shots," said Lee, who had only one bogey in her final round. "I played really solidly all day, which is what you need to do to win an event like this. Overall it was a great week for me."
The final pairing would open their final round of play steadily, with both Matsuoka and Lee coming out of the gate with six straight pars. But with back-to-back bogeys from Matsuoka on the seventh and eighth holes, the momentum began to shift Lee's way, with the 2015 champion continuing her even par round. With the lead narrowed to just one shot, Lee would fire her tee shot on the par-3 ninth hole to just six feet, putting the pressure on Matsuoka who lay nearly 20 feet from the hole.
Not ready to relinquish her advantage quite yet, however, Matsuoka drained her long birdie putt, putting the pressure back on Lee to match and not once again fall two shots back. Lee would follow suit, sinking her first birdie putt of the day to remain one off the lead.
The tides would fully shift on Hole 10, where for the first time in the event Matsuoka fell off her consistently steady play. After her tee shot found a fairway bunker, Matsuoka, a rising sophomore at Oregon, would take two shots out of the bunker before finding further trouble over the green. She would settle for a triple bogey, and a safely-played par from Lee would turn her one-shot disadvantage into a two-shot lead for the first time since midway through Round 2. The momentum shift seemed to rattle Matsuoka, who despite coming right back with a gutsy birdie on No. 11 would play her final seven holes in 4-over par to finish the tournament T3.
Lee had found her opening. Having taken back the lead the Hermosa Beach resident refused to let it go as the gallery around the final group grew to about 50 people. Lee didn't miss a fairway the rest of the way in, and collected two more birdies along the way, at one point extending her advantage over the rest of the field to five shots, before eventually settling for a four-stroke win. The victory followed up her 3-shot win in the inaugural playing of the event at The Los Angeles CC in 2015, giving Lee two wins in the event in her only two appearances.
The model of consistency all week, it was Fullerton's Beth Lillie who would finish as the event's runner-up, posting her third consecutive score of even par 71. Tying for third was Brigitte Dunne of Camarillo and Matsuoka. Rounding out the Top 5 was Alana Uriell of Carlsbad. With the win, Lee will have her named engraved on The Fischer Trophy, which has been named after Bob Fischer (1948-2017), a member of the SCGA's Board of Directors who was instrumental in the creation of the SCGA Women's Amateur Championship.
Lee's win cements herself as one of the top female amateurs in the nation. Coming into the week, she was ranked No. 6 on the World Amateur Golf Rankings. In addition to her impressive ranking, she is also coming off of a freshman season in which she collected three individual collegiate titles as well as earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors. Lee will turn around and play in the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship at San Diego CC next week, where she hopes to best her impressive performance from a year ago when she lost to the eventual champion in the tournament's quarterfinals.
"This win gives me a lot of confidence," said Lee. "I haven't played a lot of competitive golf this summer, this is only my second event, so winning this really boosts my confidence going into next week. I'm really looking forward to the U.S. Women's Amateur finally being in California and hopefully having some family and friends out there for support."