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State title gave Lee big finish

December 08, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

When Smithsburg junior Haeun Lee reached the 18th green in her second round at the Maryland state golf tournament in October, she was only a few moments away from her crowning achievement as the girls champion for 2008 became official.

Her growth in golf is symbolic of female Asian golfers' success at various levels after coming to the United States.

The first level of success for Lee came in the form of offseason junior golf competition, before it carried over to the high school level.

With her state championship in hand, the 18-year-old Lee is The Herald-Mail All-Area and All-County Golfer of the Year for 2008, her second straight such honor.

The state crown was a fitting conclusion to a rapidly rising outlook in golf for Lee, who was introduced to the game by her late father, Young Jung Lee, when she was a sixth-grader in South Korea.

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"My father got me started, he thought I could be pretty good and by the time I was 14 I thought I had talent," said Lee.

The family moved to San Antonio three years ago and, after the untimely death of her father, Lee relocated to Smithsburg with her uncle, Steve Gibson.

Lee made an immediate impact locally, winning titles in the Tri-State juniors, WACO juniors and Junior Masters.

A second-place finish in the state tournament in 2007 made her one of the favorites this year, and Lee did not disappoint.

At Potomac Ridge in Waldorf, Lee was three shots behind first-round leader Lauren Smith, the 2006 champion.

Lee came out with a steady second round and, with the help of some balky putting by Smith, vaulted to the front early and maintained her position for a four-stroke victory.

"I knew I had come back and when I saw everyone at the 18th green, I knew I was the winner," said Lee, who continues to work on her English and scholastic studies.

Lee, who averaged 37 strokes for nine-hole matches, has made a visit to Longwood (Va.) University and is awaiting final SAT scores before making a final commitment to the Division I school.

"(Longwood) is a small campus like Smithsburg and I liked that," said Lee. "I felt like I had been there before. It was a family feeling with the golf team."

Lee is completing her high school studies as a junior and is no longer eligible for prep competition. She will graduate at the end of the current school year.

"The first thing is to go to college because that is important in life," Lee said. "It's not just golf."

College aside, Lee has a burning desire to give it her utmost effort in moving forward, and hopes to reach the professional ranks.

ALL-AREA TEAM


Haeun Lee, Smithsburg, junior
Maryland girls state champion, avg. 37.
Chris Bushey, Smithsburg, junior
Fifth in Md. State tournament, avg. 39.
Jamie Phillips, St. James, senior
Averaged 39 on top-flite courses.
Derek Baker, Waynesboro, senior
Qualified for Pa. state, avg. 39.
Liz Breed, Waynesboro, junior
Ninth in Pa. state, avg. 45.
Kacy Straub,, Chambersburg, junior
10th in Pa. state, avg. 40.
Calvin Mentzer, Chambersburg, senior
One of top District 3 players, avg. 39.
Brad Beebe, Martinsburg, senior
Avg. 43.
Chris Payne, Jefferson, senior
Qualified for W.Va. state, avg. 44.
Ryan Redick, Berkeley Springs, senior
Qualified for W.Va. state, avg. 42.
Honorable mention All-Area:
Nick Tornetta, Chambersburg; Ryan Milburn, Jefferson; Jake Yoder, Martinsburg; Becky Gossard, North Hagerstown; T. J. Socks, Clear Spring; Zach Weber, Williamsport; Alex Kessler, Waynesboro; Zach Solomon, Berkeley Springs.

ALL-COUNTY TEAM


Haeun Lee, Smithsburg, junior
Maryland girls state champion, avg. 37.
Chris Bushey, Smithsburg, junior
Fifth in Md. State tournament, avg. 39.
Zach Weber, Williamsport, senior
Qualified for Md. State, avg. 42.
Jamie Phillips, St. James, senior
Averaged 39 on top-flite courses.
T.J. Socks, Clear Springs, senior
Qualified for Md. State, avg. 42.
Tyler Thompson, Boonsboro, senior
All-conference, avg. 44.
Becky Gossard, North Hagerstown, sophomore
Qualified for Md. State, avg. 43.
Kyle Walters, North Hagerstown, senior
Qualified for Md. State, avg. 44.
Honorable mention All-County:
A.J. Minnich, Smithsburg; Bo Phillips, Smithsburg;Alex Beckel, St. James; Luke Hoffman, Boonsboro; Emily Steiner, St.Maria Goretti; Chris Grosh, St. Maria Goretti.

Monocacy Valley Athletic League
Antietam Conference

First Team: Chris Bushey, Smithsburg; Haeun Lee, Smithsburg; T.J. Socks, Clear Spring; Zach Weber, Williamsport; Mike Veverka, Brunswick; Garrett Ellis, Catoctin; Tyler Thompson, Boonsboro; Luke Hoffman, Boonsboro; A.J. Minnich, Smithsburg.

SecondTeam: Tyler Miller, Catoctin; Jordan Thurber, Clear Spring; Adam Lipella, Clear Spring; Bo Phillips, Smithsburg; Christian Yanoski, Catoctin; Jared Fahnestock, Catoctin' Scot Drury, Williamsport; Troy Hartle, Boonsboro; Tyler Brown, Clear Spring.

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