You always remember your first time.
Though it may not have been the results that Ki Taek Lee was hoping for, it was an experience the member of the ASU golf team will never forget.
“It’s unbelievable out there,” Lee said after finishing five over par for the tournament on Friday. “All the fans, all the ASU fans especially.”
What an exciting stretch of golf it has been for the ASU freshman leading up to this week. He shot a 65 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open qualifying event aided by a birdie and an eagle on 17 and 18 at McCormick Ranch Golf Club to get into the tournament.
Though Lee in the end will miss the cut in his first ever PGA event, there was so much that encapsulated an overall great two days for him and his family.
“My family came out here all the way from California to watch me,” mentioned Lee. “They haven’t seen me play golf in about three or four years. So it was really special.”
Lee got off to a slow start and the nerves may have gotten the best of him initially as he shot four over par in his first nine holes. But an eagle and two birdies on the back nine had him in position to stay close to the cut line heading into day two. He stayed in the same position for the first nine on day two. However, wind would pick up and the weather changed by the time he hit the back nine which impacted his game. He posted double bogies on the first two holes on the back and would ultimately finish five over par.
“I got a little too pumped up here and there,” he explained. “I hit a lot of good shots but I hit it too far. That’s when adrenaline gets you.”
“Today was a little bit better,” Lee added. “I was a little more calm on the front nine but then I went to the back side and the same thing happened. My old habits came out. So I just have to make sure that doesn’t happen next time.”
What Lee appreciated the most was despite the ups and downs, him being a fan favorite amongst the record crowds at the TPC Scottsdale over the first two days of the Open was very exciting. Especially getting the opportunity to ham it up with the wild fans on the famous 16th hole.
“The 16th hole is unbelievable,” Lee said. “It’s even more amazing because there are a lot of ASU fans out there. No matter what I do, they are going to support me and that’s a big, big help.”
Now that this experience is behind Lee, now is time to apply the experience of his first PGA event and apply it to his game and upcoming season at ASU.
“I learned a lot of stuff and one of those is you have to keep grinding,” Lee stated. “And second is having fun. Even though I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, I had a lot of fun and that’s all that matters.”