Lee, after runner-up finish: 'I gave it my best out there'
October 19, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Danny Lee sinks lengthy birdie putt at THE CJ CUP
For most of the final round at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, it appeared there just might be some destiny at play for Korean-born Danny Lee.
It felt like a second PGA TOUR win was in the offing instead of the runner-up finish with which the 29-year-old would ultimately settle.
Despite having coaxed in a long eagle putt on the 18th green Saturday to force a three-shot swing with Justin Thomas and join a tie for the lead through 54 holes, Lee was seen as a long shot against the usually unflappable Thomas.
But he was a sentimental favorite, given his local ties and the revelation his wife had prematurely given birth to their second child last Sunday. The baby is currently in an incubator, as it was originally due closer to Christmas.
Despite playing with plenty of emotion, Lee put himself in a dogfight with Thomas on Jeju Island, making clutch putts throughout the front nine and carding three birdies to stay tied at the turn.
He was still tied atop the leaderboard through 13 holes before Thomas produced a clutch birdie on the 14th hole. From there, perhaps pressing just a touch harder, Lee made his first few errors off the tee. He went from bunker to bunker on the 14th and 15th holes to end up with bogeys, seemingly ending his chances.
“Just a couple holes that were letting me down with the driver on the back nine,” Lee admitted.
“A couple tee shots that you cannot hit it in that bunkers on the left and I did, so struggling to make par from there when Justin had a couple birdie looks.”
But when they reached the 72nd hole, Lee found himself two back and refused to lie down. Once again, he set himself up with a lengthy eagle try and surveyed it after Thomas had sent an eagle run of his own past the cup.
Lee’s effort tracked toward the hole the entire way and jumped above the hole, hit the back of the cup, and spun away. A cruel lip out at the end of what was a great week. The miss gave Thomas two putts from short range to win and the American closed out his 11th PGA TOUR title.
“Pretty close. I wasn't going to leave that short,” Lee said of the putt.
“It looked so good for so long. Had a little too much speed to go in, but I gave it a really good run.”
The runner-up finish is the third of Lee's PGA TOUR career as he searches for a second win to go with his 2015 triumph at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier.
“Before I tee off my very first tee shot on Thursday, if someone's going to give me solo second, I would take it in a heartbeat. It is a good week, but also very disappointing.
“I really wanted to win THE CJ CUP. It means a lot to me to win it in front of the Korean fans and all my Korean family, but it is what it is. I gave my best out there today and solo second was the best I could do.”
Lee moves to 11th in the FedExCup standings.