In April, California native Andrea Lee entered the Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America as a sponsors invite and left tied for fifth alongside LPGA Tour champions Ryann O’Toole, Annie Park and Hannah Green. Those four days of solid play at Palos Verdes Golf Club, where she is an honorary member, helped jumpstart her 2022 season, which was recently highlighted by her first LPGA Tour victory at the AmazingCre Portland Classic.
“(Palos Verdes) was huge for me because it kind of secured my full status for the rest of the season, and I got into Founders after that and the Match-Play event, which I did really well at,” said Lee, who finished fourth at the Bank of Hope Match-Play in Las Vegas. “That definitely secured my full card for this season, which I didn't expect at the beginning of the year. Yeah, I guess that's just the luck that I have in California. It brings all the good vibes.”
Since that season-changing event in Palos Verdes, Lee will return to her home state and bring her winning game to the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship at The Saticoy Club. Statistically, the 24-year-old is ranked in the top-20 on the LPGA Tour in several categories including putts per green in regulation (1.76), scoring average (70.06), rounds under par (36) and rounds in the 60s (23). Lee’s worst stat on paper is her average driving distance (242.37), which ranks 154th on Tour and makes her success all the more impressive in a game that increasingly favors long hitters. Lee makes up for in other areas though, favoring accuracy in her strategy over all else.
“I'm definitely not one of the longer hitters out here, that's for sure. My strengths are the approach shots into the green and putting has definitely been a strength I think throughout the whole season,” said Lee, who also ranks fifth in driving accuracy to make up for what she lacks in distance. “But my mindset out there is just to hit fairways and greens, minimize the mistakes as much as possible. I think that's also been one of the keys for me. I haven't been making as many bogeys as I used to.”
While Lee tees it up in Somis, Calif., the Epson Tour Championship will take place across the country in Daytona Beach, Fla. In addition to her Tour win in Portland, the American earned an additional professional this season at the Epson Tour’s Casino Del Sol Golf Classic. Lee played in three other Epson Tour events this season leading up to her win in Tucson, Ariz., and is grateful for the experience.
“That's where I thought I would see myself at the beginning of the year, kind of fighting for that top 10 spot on the Epson Tour,” Lee said. “I am kind of glad that I'm not in that position anymore, but the Epson Tour is a great tour to start off before coming to the LPGA. I think those experiences that I had at the beginning of the year playing in four, five Epson Tour events helped me prepare for the rest of the season, which has just been a whirlwind for me.”