On Wednesday, South Korea's Kyoung-Hoon Lee had no idea if he'd be playing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. As the first alternate, Lee needed someone to drop out in order for him to get into the field. While waiting for that to happen, he also needed to keep his game sharp, so he made his way to Bay Hill with his wife on Wednesday morning. Then life threw him a much more serious curveball.
At around 10:40 a.m., Lee and his wife, who was driving their courtesy car to the course, were involved in a serious car accident. According to a report from PGATour.com's Cameron Morfit, as Lee's wife attempted to turn left, an oncoming car didn't stop and crashed into them. Fortunately, neither Lee nor his wife needed to go to the hospital.
"When I saw the car coming," Lee said through an interpreter, "I was scared, like, 'Oh, my gosh.' It was like the whole thing was kind of in slow motion."
Less than 24 hours later, Lee made his way back to Bay Hill at 6:30 a.m. It was around that time he found out he'd be playing golf on Thursday, thanks to Francesco Molinari's late withdraw. Molinari, the defending champion, pulled out of the tournament with a bad back.
It was perfect timing for Lee, who had to get ready quickly. He was put in the same group as Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, who were set to tee off at 7:54 a.m. at the par-4 10th hole. Lee made an opening par and went on to shoot an even-par 72, one better than Rose, who shot 73, and six off the pace of McIlroy.
"I felt sore in the morning, but after I got the tee time, I couldn’t feel it," said Lee.
The added start came at a great time for Lee. After missing three of four cuts, the 28-year-old has made the weekend in three straight starts. Tied in 45th after the Palmer first round, he had a good chance to extend the streak.