Written By: Michelle McCollough
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The fall season has not been gloomy for New Mexico State's men's golf player Joon Lee. With one tournament win under his belt, Lee has proven that he can compete at the Division I level.
Lee first began his college golf career at Western New Mexico University, before transferring to NM State.
"I've always wanted to play Division I golf because that's where all the good players are," Lee said. He has known Lieberworth since he started out at Western NM. When Lee "decided to come and play at a Division I school," he knew exactly who to talk to. "That's how I ended up here," with a scholarship.
This season, Lee has participated in four tournaments, two of which he finished in the top five and has one victory so far this season.
"It's been really good. I finished in the top five in two tournaments and won one," Lee said. "The very first tournament I finished sixth, which isn't too bad. The second tournament I kind of bombed it. Overall, it's been good so far, but I'm hoping it can get better."
Watching athletes compete during tournaments can be both thrilling and nerve-racking. It takes a lot of time and hard work to prepare for competitions. When I asked Lee what he does to prepare for golf tournaments, he was very nonchalant about it.
"I work with my coach, who is in Phoenix. We talk after each tournament and I tell him how I did. If I did something wrong, he would tell me what was right. He's a great player himself. He was ranked No. 1 when he was playing golf in college and he's basically my mentor. I look up to him."
Every athlete knows that when you enter a new season, you want to show your coaches that you have improved. Not only that, you want to challenge yourself and set attainable goals.
"For this season, I would like to be in the top five every tournament I'm in. As a team, I would love to win all of them. I just have to work harder, physically and mentally and hope more wins will come."
All his hard work has paid off so far this season. Lee came out on top in the 2010 William H. Tucker Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M., with a final round score of 5-under par, 67. He finished the tournament at 4-under par, 212. This was Lee's first tournament win as an Aggie.
"I was very impressed. It wasn't something I was expecting because I was so far behind after the second round. The course we were playing at was tough and I somehow managed to shoot 67 out there and that got me right into the lead. It was a great feeling."
Playing college sports is not the same as competing in high school. You have to be able to keep up with regular homework assignments, labs, projects all while attending practice. Lee has it all figured out as a third-year student.
"It's tough, but I just can't be lazy. I have to get to school and get to practice. At the end of the day, I have to do school work and then go to bed. It's like that just about everyday."
Lee just finished up the 2010 Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate Tournament Tuesday afternoon. He recorded a final score of 3-over par, 74, placing 18th. Lee's three-round total was 6-over par, 219.