Martin Dempster: Craig Lee still has right stuff

BY MY reckoning, Craig Lee’s journey up the 18th hole at Pretoria Country Club on Sunday cost him around £18,000. In running up a double-bogey 6, he went from third place on his own to sharing that position with two others in the Tshwane Open.
Craig Lee. Picture: Ian RutherfordCraig Lee. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Craig Lee. Picture: Ian Rutherford

It was a reminder of how punishing sport can be at the top level. For 17 holes, the former Tartan Tour player had hardly put a foot wrong as he produced his best performance since losing to Thomas Bjorn in a play-off for the 2013 European Masters in Switzerland.

He’d have deserved a cheque for close to £75,000 instead of the £57,000 he picked up, but, still, Lee has managed to kick-start his season and let’s hope the last leg of the European Tour’s South African stint this season is a sign of things to come from the Stirling man for the rest of the year.

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Like many others, I like the way Lee goes about his business on the golf course, displaying a cool persona, as was typified when, in the heat of battle, he passed on a Mother’s Day wish through the TV camera at one point.

I also like the fact that, despite cutting it fine last year before securing his card (he finished 107th in the Race to Dubai) Lee didn’t reach for the panic button. He’s still coached by Steven Rosie, the PGA professional at Glenbervie, and still has Stephen Neilson, a Dunbar member and decent player himself, on the bag.

He’ll be hurting a bit right now – understandably, too – but not for long, hopefully.