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August 5, 2014

Local junior golfer heads to Scotland

William Lee represents Team USA at St. Andrews

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

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William Lee practices on the driving range before the International Junior Golf Tour Euro Cup tournament at St. Andrews in Scotland. The event took place Aug. 2-9.

TROY—William Lee is writing his own history at the home of golf.

Lee, a rising eighth-grader at Holy Family Regional School in Rochester Hills, is currently representing Team USA in the International Junior Golf Tour Euro Cup that began Aug. 2 at St. Andrews in Scotland.

Lee is joined by three other Americans in the 14-and-under division to take on teams from Canada and Scotland.

His nomination to the roster is the culmination of Lee’s youth golf career that began at the age of 3.

Lee’s coach of 10 years at the Sanctuary Lake Golf Academy, Paul Toski, said that he has seen Lee develop traits that have made him into an elite junior golfer.

“I think that with most kids at that age, what separates a lot of the elite players is having really good wedge skills and good putting skills,” Toski said. “Probably his best thing is how his course management skills have improved through the past year. He’s making good decisions on the golf course, and he’s understanding that golf is a game of misses, because you’re not going to hit every shot perfectly.”

By the time Lee began learning under Toski 10 years ago, Lee had already made a name for himself in the golf community.

As part of Ryder Cup festivities at Oakland Hills Country Club in 2004, Lee sank a hole-in-one at the Ryder Cup Challenge. A framed press clipping inside Lee’s home commemorates the occasion.

Since that moment, Lee has steadily developed into one of the area’s top junior golfers.

Most recently, Lee won a US Kids tournament in June of 2013 at Fox Hills Golf Course in Plymouth. He then went on to win the Teach Golf America 2014 summer tournament at Somerset Golf Club in Troy.

In July, Lee was victorious at the Michigan Junior Invitational at Pine River Country Club in Alma.

In addition to his tournament victories, Lee has also been the captain of Sanctuary Lake’s PGA Junior League team for the last two seasons. Toski said that Lee’s personality on and off the course has helped him improve his own golf skills and those of his teammates.

“He’s a good leader, works hard and he has great leadership skills,” Toski said. “A lot of that came through coaching him and getting him to lead by example through teaching the kids good practice habits and being a good teammate by encouraging players to learn what he’s learned.”

One part of his game that Lee hopes to instill on his teammates is maintaining a positive attitude, something which Toski explained is an area where Lee has also made great strides.

“He has a good, positive attitude, and he’s able to take it one shot at a time. He understands that you’re going to hit some bad shots,  and he doesn’t get too down,” Toski said.

Lee’s hobbies outside of golf may also influence his steady demeanor on the links. Lee has already had two children’s books published, and he made his Carnegie Hall singing debut in seventh grade as part of an international vocal competition.

After performing under the bright lights of New York City, Lee said he would be ready to represent his country in golf now.

“It’s a lot of weight to put on my shoulders, but I think I can handle it,” he said.