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Lee wins Colombia Classic, claims Totalplay Cup lead

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Lee wins Colombia Classic, claims Totalplay Cup lead

    Written by Gregory Villalobos @PGATOURLA

    BUCARAMANGA, Colombia—Walker Lee, a 25-year-old from Houston, Texas, sank a 15-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole for a one-shot win at the Colombia Classic presented by Rocha Brothers. Trailing by three at the start of the day, Lee secured the come-from-behind win by firing a 6-under 64 Sunday. The winner finished at 19-under 261, edging Austin Hitt of Longwood, Florida, who also carded a final-round 64 to charge into solo second. With his first career win on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Lee became the new Totalplay Cup No. 1, with only three tournaments left to play this season.

    Leading at 19-under with six holes to play, Stuart Macdonald of Vancouver, Canada, missed his chance of claiming the win with a rough stretch of three consecutive bogeys that started on No. 14. He birdied the last to shoot 68 and finish solo third, at 17-under.

    “I’ve been playing relatively solid all year. I scrambled well in Peru and finished top 10, and I actually played pretty well in Quito and finished 29th. I knew my game was close, and to see it finally payoff is fulfilling,” said Lee. He entered the week ranked 16th in the Totalplay Cup standings.

    Lee came out on fire in the final round, starting birdie-birdie-birdie to get within one of the lead. “I started with three birdies in a row, which obviously is a good way to start and set the tone for the day,” said Lee after shooting 3-under on the front nine alternating two birdies and two bogeys between holes 6 and 9.

    After making a birdie 11, he ran into trouble at the par-4 12th, hitting his tee shot out of bounds. “I was able to make a good bogey after that, which saved the momentum, and I was able to make a couple of birdies coming in and got it done,” added Lee, who bounced back with birdies on Nos. 13, 15 and 18 to lock up the win playing one group ahead of the 54-hole leaders.

    With the 500 Totalplay Cup points he earned Sunday, Lee improved his season total to 872 points to move past Conner Godsey, the season-long race leader after each of the past two events. Asked about how this win and his new position changes things from here on, Lee said, “I just need to stay patient and keep doing what I’m doing, keep playing solid, and see what happens.”

    Updated Totalplay Cup Points List

    (Through the Colombia Classic presented by Rocha Brothers)

    Pos.PlayerTotal PointsPoints Behind
    1Walker Lee (U.S.)871--
    2Conner Godsey (U.S.)8656
    3Charlie Hillier (New Zealand)83041
    4Chandler Blanchet (U.S.)80764
    5Cristóbal Del Solar (Chile)711160
    6Toni Hakula (Finland)697174
    7Linus Lilliedahl (Sweden)669202
    8Matt Ryan (U.S.)667204
    9Marcos Montenegro (Argentina)629242
    10Jake McCrory (U.S.)567304

    Did you know Walker Lee’s family has a strong golf history at Texas A&M University? Lee was a second-generation Texas A&M player, following in the footsteps of his father, Randy, who graduated from College Station in 1990. His uncles Jackie and Scott Lee also played golf for the Aggies. At A&M, Walker Lee won four college tournaments.

    Key Information

    With only three full-field events left to play before the season-ending Bupa Tour Championship, the finish line is moving closer. Earning Totalplay Cup points is critical for players all across the standings in order to get the different performance rewards available.

    For the second consecutive season, the Tour will be enhancing the race for the Totalplay Cup, providing a U.S. $100,000 bonus pool for the top-10 finishers in the standings at the end of the 2022-23 season. The winner of the Totalplay Cup will receive $20,000 in addition to his 2024 Korn Ferry Tour membership. The following is the bonus pool breakdown:

    Totalplay Cup Bonus Breakdown

    Totalplay Cup PositionBonus Amount

    Not long after graduating from college in May of last year, Walker Lee turned pro. He joined PGA TOUR Latinoamérica by finishing solo second at the U.S. Q-School East No. 1 at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Florida. This week he was making his ninth start of the season and his career.

    Playing two groups ahead of Walker Lee was Austin Hitt. The Floridian gave himself a chance to force a playoff with a birdie at the last to shoot 64 and finish at 18-under. “I hit a really nice shot in the last hole, (it) just got caught up in the rough or it would have gone right down to the hole for an eagle chance. I chipped up and made birdie, forcing Walker to make a really nice putt on the last hole. I can’t complain, obviously, I would have liked to win, but it was just a really good week,” said the 25-year-old, who, thanks to a runner-up finish, advanced from 39th to 13th in the Totalplay Cup standings.

    The low round of the final day was an 8-under 62 by Gabriel Lench of Lake Mary, Florida. Lench shot 31 on each nine, recording eight birdies and going bogey-free. Starting the day in a tie for 26th, he went on to tie for fourth, at 16-under, along with Charlie Hillier of New Zealand and Andrés Gallegos of Argentina.

    Gabriel Lench and Andrés Gallegos entered the week ranked 81st and 92nd in the Totalplay Cup standings, respectively, way outside the top 60 who will qualify for the season-ending Bupa Tour Championship. The 115 Totalplay Cup points each earned this week were significant, as Lench moved into 42nd and Gallegos into 46th with just two regular season events to play.

    The tie for fourth was Charlie Hillier’s third top-five of the season, and it allowed him to strengthen his position as No. 3 in the Totalplay Cup standings, only 41 points behind Walker Lee. Hillier carded a final-round 65, recording an eagle at the last.

    Outright leader by one through 54 holes, Brendon Doyle was unable to get anything going Sunday. A final round of 2-over-par 72 that featured six bogeys and only four birdies saw him drop into a tie for 10th, at 14-under for the week. Although this was a missed chance, Doyle gained 28 spots in the Totalplay Cup standings, moving from 86th to 58th.

    After a disappointing third round of 2-over 72 that saw him slip into a tie for 15th after holding a piece of the 36-hole lead, Juan Pablo Luna of Colombia had a strong closing round of 5-under 65 to tie for seventh, at 15-under. A total of 21 Colombians started the tournament, and the following are the scores and positions for the four of them who played this weekend:

    T7Juan Pablo Luna265 (-15)
    T40Ricardo Celia272 (-8)
    T47Jesús Amaya273 (-7)
    T64Daniel Pico280 (par)

    PGA TOUR Latinoamérica will spend one more week in Colombia for the 10th event of the season this coming week outside the capital city of Bogota—the Inter Rapidísimo Golf Championship presented by Volvo, which begins Thursday at Club El Rincón de Cajicá.

    Final-Round Weather: Cloudy. High of 80. Wind NE at 4-15 mph.

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