Danny Lee regains PGA Tour status, overtakes Ryan Fox as top-ranked Kiwi


Kiwi golfer Danny Lee played the 18th hole in the Bermuda Championship Final at Port Royal Golf Course on October 31.

Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images

Kiwi golfer Danny Lee played the 18th hole in the Bermuda Championship Final at Port Royal Golf Course on October 31.

A lot can change in the space of a few months, just ask Kiwi golfer Danny Lee.

In a downward spiral after losing his PGA Tour card in September and nodding to 257th in the world, the 31-year-old regained his PGA Tour status and edged Ryan Fox as the top-ranked Kiwi.

Not completely banned from the game’s most prolific and lucrative tour – Lee had a medical exemption (10 starts) – he did so after finishing second in the Bermuda Championship and tied for seventh in the World Tech Championship in Mayakoba.

Faced with the prospect of playing mostly on the Korn Ferry Tour (formerly Web.com), Lee needed a minimum of a solo third place finish to collect enough FedExCup Points (190) to collect his full card (minus the majors). He obtained 245 for having finished in a part of second.

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While a late collapse in Bermuda cost Lee a shot at securing his second PGA Tour victory, his recent form has catapulted him to 192nd in the standings. His comrade Kiwi Fox is 201st.

Lee had a one-shot lead with eight holes to go, only for a bad tee shot, followed by an equally brutal approach, to lead to a double bogey and a three-stroke swing.

New Zealand's Danny Lee lines up a putt on the sixth green in the Bermuda Championship Final at Port Royal Golf Course on October 31.

Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images

New Zealand’s Danny Lee lines up a putt on the sixth green in the Bermuda Championship Final at Port Royal Golf Course on October 31.

He followed it with two more bogeys, before birding three of the last four holes to finish tied with Patrick Reed at 14 under par, one stroke behind Australian winner Lucas Herbert.

“It’s always been my pace,” said Lee, who looked rushed during his nasty run.

“No matter where I am, I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I always try to stay consistent. Taking my time for a photo is not my thing.

“I’m biting my tongue and just trying to crush it,” Lee said of her finish. “There are so many times that this moment comes or every time this disappointment has happened, I’ve just halfway done it all the way, so this time I didn’t want to do that. I gave 120% until the end.

Lee skipped the Tokyo Olympics in an effort to retain full PGA Tour status and was set to finish among the top 25 players on the Korn Ferry Tour in September.

Danny Lee has placed in the top 10 in two of the first three PGA Tour events of the season.

Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images

Danny Lee has placed in the top 10 in two of the first three PGA Tour events of the season.

However, after a six-week layoff due to a fractured rib, the full member of the PGA Tour since 2014 was 27th.

Now, having reclaimed his status, Lee has already more than doubled his earnings from the 2021 season, when he pocketed US $ 347,000 (NZ $ 484,000) from 24 events.

He hasn’t recorded a single top 10, but already has two out of three events in the new season, and US $ 797,000 to his name.

Lee has earned $ 14.5 million on the PGA Tour since 2009.

About Walter J. Leslie

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