27 August 2008, St Andrews, Scotland: New Zealand's Danny Lee has won the Mark H McCormack Medal. The award is made to the leading player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking following the US Amateur and European Amateur, both of which concluded at the weekend. Lee ensured his position at the top of the Ranking after adding the US Amateur to the Western Amateur title that he won earlier in the year. Korean-born Lee, who emigrated to New Zealand with his parents at the age of nine, took over the number one spot just one week ago thanks to an extraordinary PGA Tour debut tying for 20th at the Wyndham Championship after posting four rounds in the 60s. The 18-year-old spent much of the first half of the year inside the top-10 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking thanks to a string of steady performances in the southern hemisphere, including victories at the North Island Stroke Play and Lake Macquarie Amateur, and a semi-final appearance at the Australian Amateur.
He continued to impress after arriving in the United States, registering solid finishes at the Southern Amateur and Porter Cup, and his victory at the Western Amateur got him into a position to challenge Rickie Fowler, who spent much of the year in the number one spot. At Pinehurst Lee became the youngest player ever to win the US Amateur, supplanting Tiger Woods in the record books. Playing superb golf all week, he made 13 birdies in 32 holes during his 5&4 victory in the final. Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that during the matchplay stages of the championship Lee never had to go beyond the 16th green – with the exception of the morning round of the 36-hole final. In capturing the Western Amateur and US Amateur titles in the same season he joins a select group of players who have managed that feat; the list includes Jack Nicklaus, Lanny Wadkins, Justin Leonard and Tiger Woods. Lee becomes the second player to receive the Mark H McCormack Medal.
The medal was first awarded in 2007 to Colt Knost of the USA. After securing the medal last September, Knost went on to play a key part in the side that won The Walker Cup at Royal County Down, finishing unbeaten in his four matches. He turned professional soon after, qualifying for the Nationwide Tour, and with two victories so far this season has already climbed high enough in the money list to guarantee him a full PGA Tour card for 2009.