NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) - New Zealand teenager Danny Lee, who eclipsed Tiger Woods last month as the youngest U.S. amateur champion, has set his sights on victory when he makes his second PGA Tour appearance of the season this week.
The Rotorua High School senior, 18, said he wanted to impress at the $6 million Turning Stone Resort Championship in Verona, New York.
“I’m not just here for making the cut,” Lee told reporters on Tuesday during preparation for Thursday’s opening round. “Hopefully if I play well enough I can win this tournament. That’s my goal.”
Lee, who beat American Drew Kittleson 5&4 in the U.S. amateur final in Pinehurst, North Carolina last month, plans to turn professional after next year’s U.S. Open.
Whether or not he triumphs on Sunday, he intends to maintain the bold approach to the game which has so far served him well.
“It’s not going to change me,” said Lee, who is in this week’s field on a sponsor’s exemption. “Every tournament I play, even the major tournaments, I’m coming over here to win, not just making the cut, so...”
Asked what victory this week would mean to him, the South Korean native replied: “I don’t know. I will say something after I win the tournament.”
Lee, who turned 18 in July, was more than six months younger than 1994 U.S. amateur champion Woods when he outclassed Kittleson in their 36-hole final at Pinehurst.
The previous week, he finished in a highly creditable tie for 20th at the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship where he also played on a sponsor’s exemption.
At Atunyote, however, he faces a strong field of battle-hardened professionals in the second event of the PGA Tour’s seven-tournament Fall Series.
Former major winners Davis Love III, David Duval, Rich Beem, Mark Calcavecchia and Steve Elkington are competing, along with emerging American talent Sean O’Hair.
The field also includes several PGA Tour champions this season, among them Japan’s Ryuji Imada, Swedes Carl Pettersson and Richard S. Johnson and Americans Steve Lowery and Will MacKenzie.
American left-hander Steve Flesch defends the title he won by two strokes last year. (Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Justin Palmer)