No storybook ending for Lee
While solid, final tournament not what 2010 medalist wanted
HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. – For Tain Lee, Friday’s final round at the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championship was a mixed bag.
Lee, a senior for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps shot 76. It finished a frustrating week of golf with rounds of 74-70-71-76 and a 3-over-par total. He was fifth overall, nine shots behind medalist Anthony Maccaglia of Oglethorpe.
|DIII MEN'S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP|
|Moore: Maccaglia wins individual title|
|Moore: No storybook ending for Lee|
|Moore: Oglethorpe’s Maccaglia holds lead|
|Moore: Layout differences show early|
|Moore: Maccaglia tied for first after day one|
|Moore: Transylvania looks to regroup|
|Moore: Ogelthorpe extends lead by one|
|• Day 3: Recap|
|• Day 2: Recap|
|• Day 1: Recap|
|Leaderboard: Team | Individual|
“I’m more than pleased with what I’ve done in Division III golf; more than I expected,” said Lee. “[Friday] was frustrating. I birdied the first hole but after that I never really got anything going.
“I was never really firing on all cylinders. Sitting on the couch the last couple months I just hoped I’d get a chance to get back on the course. Playing here with my teammates, that was really a fun experience.”
Two years ago, as a sophomore, Lee finished at the top of the ladder, shooting 280 to earn medalist honors in Hershey, Pa. Last May, he finished second to Centre College’s Chris Morris, who set a DIII scoring record at 14-under-par 274 in Greensboro, N.C.
Both years final examinations at C-M-S were held the same week, meaning Lee played a round of golf, hurried back to the hotel, got on-line, and took a three-hour exam which required as much if not more effort than a short iron from deep rough.
There were also other difficult questions to answer. Most of California’s Division I programs thought he might make a nice addition to their program. Cal appeared to be a nice fit, but instead of heading 350 miles north Lee decided to stay in Claremont.
“The four years at Claremont couldn’t have been any better,” said Lee. “Nationals being a week later it was a little easier. My sophomore year, I took a final after my first round. It was brutal. This year they were already out of the way, but the fact that I couldn’t practice meant it really didn’t matter anyway.
“I wouldn’t say it helped my golf. We do that week-in and week-out during the semester so we are used to it by this time of year."
The 2011-12 season was supposed to belong to Lee. The DIII Championships and final exams at C-M-S were not the same week, so by the time May rolled around it was going to be the division’s best golfer focused 100 percent on becoming just the third golfer in DIII history to win two individual titles.
Slowly, but surely, however, a sore wrist began to make playing an injury-free round of golf impossible by January. Surgery? Time off? Change to a lefty?
There were not a lot of options for Lee, who desperately wanted to join his teammates in Florida this week. So, for almost two months, there was no golf. Prior to this week’s championships the last competitive round Lee played was at March’s Collegiate Invitational in Jekyll Island, Ga.
On Tuesday during the opening round, Lee shot 2-over-par 74. He followed that up with a 2-under 70. Thursday was one of those “could-of-been” rounds, a good solid 71 but, with a better putt or two, easily in the 60s.
He started Friday eight shots behind leader Maccaglia and was not able to mount any kind of charge, shooting 2-over on his outward nine and sitting at 4-over for the day before the horn sounded marking a delay while standing over his ball in the middle of the eighteenth fairway.
After the 90-minute weather delay, Lee returned to the 18th fairway and did not hit his best shot of the week, but a solid approach nevertheless. He lipped out for birdie and finished his career with a tap-in par.
Golf probably has not heard the last of Tain Lee. A healed wrist, down the road, and expect to see him on a leaderboard near you.