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Lee Awarded McCormack Medal
New Zealand's Danny Lee has been awarded the Mark H. McCormack Medal. The award is given to the leading player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking following the U.S. Amateur and European Amateur, both of which were concluded Labor Day weekend.
Lee ensured his position at the top of the Ranking after adding the U.S. Amateur to the Western Amateur title he won earlier in the year. The Korean-born Lee, who immigrated to New Zealand with his parents at age nine, took over the top spot a week ago thanks to an extraordinary PGA Tour debut, tying for 20th at the Wyndham Championship after posting four rounds in the 60s.
The 18-year-old spent much of the first half of the year inside the top-10 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking thanks to a string of steady performances in the Southern Hemisphere, including victories at the North Island Stroke Play and Lake Macquarie Amateur, and a semifinal appearance in the Australian Amateur.
Lee continued to impress after arriving in the United States, registering solid finishes at the Southern Amateur and Porter Cup. His victory in the Western Amateur got him into a position to challenge Rickie Fowler, who spent much of the year in the No. 1 spot.
At Pinehurst in North Carolina, Lee became the youngest player ever to win the U.S. Amateur, supplanting Tiger Woods in the record books. Playing superb golf all week, he made 13 birdies in 32 holes during his 5-and-4 victory in the final over Drew Kittleson. Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that during the match-play stages of the championship, Lee never went beyond the 16th green, with the exception of the morning round of the 36-hole final.
In capturing the Western Amateur and U.S. Amateur titles in the same season, he joins a select group of players who have managed that feat, including Jack Nicklaus, Lanny Wadkins, Justin Leonard and Woods.
Lee becomes the second player to receive the Mark H. McCormack Medal, which was introduced by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. The inaugural medal was awarded in 2007 to Colt Knost of the U.S. After receiving the medal last September, Knost play a keyed part on the American team that won the Walker Cup at Royal County Down, finishing unbeaten in four matches. He turned professional soon after, qualifying for the Nationwide Tour, and with two victories so far this season has climbed high enough in the money list to guarantee him a full PGA Tour card in 2009.