First alternate Lee gets tee time after car accident
March 05, 2020
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
- K.H. Lee shot an even-par 72 after getting into the field late. (Sam Greenwood/GettyImages)
ORLANDO – It was a wild 24 hours for Kyoung-Hoon Lee, who got in the field as first alternate and shot even par in the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.
The South Korean golfer was in the passenger seat of his courtesy car when he and his wife were involved in a serious car accident on their way to the course Wednesday morning.
On Thursday he came to the course at 6:30 a.m. only to learn he was getting into the field to replace defending champion Francesco Molinari, who withdrew with a back injury.
“I felt sore in the morning, but after I got the tee time, I couldn’t feel it,” said Lee, who played with Rory McIlroy (66) and Justin Rose (73).
It was around 10:40 a.m. Wednesday when Lee and his wife were driving to the course from their apartment across town. He had planned to hit some balls on the driving range, but as their car tried to turn left, the oncoming car didn’t stop and plowed into them.
“When I saw the car coming,” Lee said through an interpreter, “I was scared, like, 'Oh, my gosh.' It was like the whole thing was kind of in slow motion.”
He said their courtesy car, an SUV, didn’t receive much damage, but the other vehicle did. He went to the trainers and his wife received first aid at Bay Hill, but they didn’t go to the hospital.
Although his wife usually watches him play, she opted to stay home Thursday, he added.
“I talked to her this morning,” he said. “She feels sore and is in a little bit of pain.”
Lee said he figured there had to be some sort of karmic connection between getting in the accident and getting the call to replace Molinari in one of the tournament’s featured groups. He was tied for 45th place after the completion of the morning wave of players in Round 1.