Danny Lee, the 18-year-old New Zealander who finished the season as the world's number one ranked amateur golfer, said he was "extremely honoured" to have won the Mark H McCormack Medal. The medal is awarded to the top-ranked golfer in the World Amateur Golf Ranking at the end of each summer season, just after the European Amateur and US Amateur championships.

"I am extremely honoured to receive this award," said the Korean-born golfer. "It is a fantastic end to a great season of golf for me this summer.

"It is very rewarding for me to be the number one amateur golfer in the world. I have worked very hard over the past years and it is fantastic to have it pay off so well and have it recognised so widely."

Lee's season started in New Zealand and Australia where he won several titles, before going over to the USA earlier this summer. He managed to bring his best golf with him, with three fabulous results that underlined his special talent: first, he won the Western Amateur; then, he finished 20th in the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour, where he shot four rounds in the 60s; and finally he followed up with a victory in the US Amateur in which he never looked in any danger of losing a match.

Victory in the US Amateur earns Lee exemptions into next year's Open Championship and US Open, as well as a likely invitation to the Masters – and unsurprisingly, Lee is thrilled at the prospect of playing in three of the game's Major championships at such an early stage in his career.

"I am overwhelmed," he said. "It is so exciting to play in those events.

"I am looking forward to the experience and I am sure I will learn a lot. It is what I have dreamed of for a long time: to play Major championships."

As exciting as his 2009 will be, Lee still has one major event to come in 2008, and it's one that's a lot closer to home: the Eisenhower Trophy, which is being played in Adelaide. Lee is already preparing for the event: at the moment, he is at a training camp with the rest of the New Zealand team, after which he will head back home for a while, and then on to San Diego where he will spend some time with his uncle and hit the range in good weather at a time when it's still winter in the southern hemisphere.

Lee is confident about his team's chances in the Eisenhower Trophy, and has some local knowledge to give him a bit of an edge. "I played in Adelaide earlier this year," he explains. "I feel very good about the courses and my chances to help New Zealand win the event."
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