Alison Lee sits at (-16) heading into Sunday at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, sitting T9. It’s a feeling that Lee looked to relish today, as she last recorded a top 10 in 2016.
“Just to play in the afternoon on a Saturday, I mean, even just to be here playing in the afternoon on a Saturday, it felt nice to feel that again.”
The play of the field has forced Lee to be aggressive, and seeing all the low numbers presents a double edged sword. “This kind of golf course can be a big confidence booster or the complete opposite.”
For Lee, it has been the former. Her (-16) through three rounds is a career best. Her previous two times at (-15), she went on to finish in the top-10. It’ll give Lee another opportunity to relish her play in the Oneida Nation.
“Seeing my name on the leaderboard, it's a good feeling and I definitely miss that.”
Seeing her name on leaderboards was a common occurrence for Lee when she joined the LPGA Tour in 2015. It’s been a fleeting occurrence since earning her Communications degree from UCLA in 2017.
She turned professional in 2015 after successfully navigating Q-school to earn her tour card. She opted to stay enrolled at UCLA, and her strong play earned her a nod from Juli Inkster on the 2015 Solheim Cup team.
In 2016, she had her career best finish of 2nd place, losing a playoff with Carlota Ciganda at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship.
That was the last top 10 finish Lee has recorded.
All of the Southern California native’s career high notes occurred while she was jotting down notes for classes at UCLA.
Lee graduated the next year, narrowly missing a second appearance on the 2017 US Solheim Cup team after juggling her classes on top of her LPGA schedule.
A flux of changes began to affect her golf game after graduating from Inglewood.
Lee moved to Vegas, changed her caddy, and no longer had classes filling her time.
“Golf has definitely been difficult the last couple years, especially after graduating from a college. It's been hard balancing everything.”
Lee has relied on her flat stick to deliver her results. In 2015 and 2016, she was in 4th and 5th place in putting average per round on the LPGA Tour. Her average moved like her change of zip code in 2017, sitting in 63rd in average on Tour.
While she rebounded with her putting in 2018, the results on the course didn't recover. Lee had to go to Q-Series, earning Category 14 status for the 2019 season, holding on to her LPGA Tour Card.
Her confidence over the putter has taken a dip this season. Lee switched from her Nike putter that she had used for the previous 13 years to a PXG putter a few weeks back, trying to mix up the mojo over a stretch of one made cut in her prior seven starts.
She turned back to old reliable for this week. Lee has hit 81 putts through three rounds, tied for sixth best in the field.
“Just kind of started fresh again, so that was kind of nice.”
It's propelled her into contention with 18 more holes to pay off the effort that has rewarded Lee with another weekend afternoon tee time.