Dandan Middle School student Dong Young “Edward” Lee was honored to represent the CNMI in the 2016 IMG Junior World Championships in California last month.
The 12-year-old competed in the boys’ 11-12 division of the annual tournament held at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. He finished tied for 41st with six other junior golfers in a field of more than 140. Lee had a final score of 8 over 224, the same scores recorded by the U.S.’ Joshua Chung, Orlando Coons, Zachary Ong, and Javir Pande, Canada’s Freddy Sun, and Japan’s Ken Shibata
Lee registered an 8 over 80 in the first round, 1 under 71 in the second, and 1 over 73 in the third. He would have finished as high as seventh place had he scored 1 over 73 in the opening round instead of going 8 over 80. His father, Young Woo, said the younger Lee was doing fine in the first 36 holes but had some trouble in the last 36 to fall in the standings.
Despite struggling on Day 1 of the tournament, the Dandan Middle School student said he never thought of finishing that high in the tough competition and added that he will be participating in the same event next year.
“It was an awesome experience and it was kind of overwhelming since there were a lot of competitive kids at my age,” Lee said. “They came from places that were a lot bigger than Saipan and I think I did well considering it was my first time.”
Lee added that his father, with the help of Laolao Bay Golf & Resort’s golf course operations manager Tony Satur, will have fundraising events when he competes again next year. The elder Lee shouldered all the expenses of his and his son’s trip to San Diego.
The junior golfer Lee also said that he has more than a year to find ways to improve his game and address his weaknesses. “It would help me a lot to concentrate more with every practice. I also have to work on my chipping.”
Lee, late last year, won for the second straight time the boys’ 11 to 12 division in the 7th Annual BMW Junior Open golf tournament in Guam. He was also a consistent placer in local golf tournaments on Saipan.
Lee started playing golf at the age four under Laolao’s Junior Golf Summer Camp. The annual event has more than 20 participants this year with kids’ age ranging from 7 to 12 years old.
Satur, Franco Santos, and Harry Nakamura are some of the coaches who oversee the golf side of the camp, while Whispering Palms School board member Kuen Hee Han teaches English to participants, who are mostly Koreans. (Mackenzie U. Perez)