For every U.S. Open qualifying story that has a happy ending (Say hi to Chris Crawford), there are even more that end badly. And then, there are the stories that are downright sad.
Won Jun Lee, a junior at Saddlebrook (Fla.) High School, falls into that latter category after what happened to him on Tuesday. Lee played well enough to earn a spot in next week's U.S. Open. However, he didn't play smartly enough to punch his ticket to Oakmont. Times-Union golf writer Gary Smits reported from Jacksonville's Timuquana Country Club:
Smits later clarified that the fixing of the pitch mark came off the green, and thus, the penalty.
The result was a disastrous double bogey. Lee rallied to shoot three under over the final six holes, but he missed out on a playoff by one shot. Of course, without the penalty, he would have qualified. Rough.
But rules are rules, and whether you're a high schooler or a seasoned pro, the onus is on the golfer to know them. And Lee, recently the top-ranked junior golfer in the country, isn't your typical high schooler.
On the bright side, this is one mistake he'll probably never make again. And based on his already impressive resume, we should see his name plenty more times in the future.