Brian Lee enters two golf tournaments each year.
At his home course, The Windermere Club in Blythewood, Lee has won the club championship five years in a row. At the Midlands Chevy Dealers’ City Golf Championship, the 40-year-old had not finished higher than fifth in 12 years of competition.
That changed Saturday at Spring Valley Golf Club, when Lee carried a two-shot lead into the tournament’s third round and wound up with a three-stroke victory over Tom Kennaday, Will Murphy and Ben Karns.
Aided by a 3-under 33 on the front nine, Lee finished at 72-66-71—209.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Lee said. “This is my moment. This is my major.”
Lee began the day with a two-shot lead over Kennaday and “the mindset to hunt, not be hunted.”
Determined to play aggressively, Lee bogeyed the first hole but did not back down.
“The bogey on No. 1 was probably the best thing for me because it calmed my nerves,” Lee said.
Hit the green in two shots on the par-5 No. 2 hole and sank a 20-foot putt for eagle.
He finished the front nine with a birdie on the par-5 ninth “and hung on for dear life,” Lee said.
Kennaday’s two bogeys on the front helped Lee to a four-stroke lead at the turn. Kennaday’s smart play on 12 — chipping out of the sand trap to within 10 feet of the pin and sinking the birdie putt — made clear that Lee’s advantage would not go unchallenged.
Playing with Lee and Kennaday, USC golfer Will Murphy got into trouble on the back nine. He had trouble finding the fairway on 12, 13 and 14.
Lee handled the course with aplomb.
“This course doesn’t favor the bombers,” he said. “I don’t hit very far, but I was able to hit fairways and move it left to right when I needed to.”
Lee played the back nine a bit more conservatively than he had intended and finished with a 38 after bogeying the final hole, another par-5.
Murphy and Kennaday each shot 72, and Karns scored a 71 to move up and into a three-way tie at 212.