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QUICK TAKE: The Busy Life of Andrea Lee

Andrea Lee got an unexpected call to play in last week's U.S. Women's Open. (Photo: John David Mercer, USA Today Sports)

SCARSDALE, NEW YORK | Granted, she’s 19, which means her fatigue factor is different than those with a few more years on them. But the schedule Stanford sophomore Andrea Lee is keeping on her way to the Curtis Cup wears you out just hearing her talk about it.

For starters, Lee is not attending “Patsy U.,” the kind of school that hands out mail-order degrees in basket weaving. Anne Walker, the head coach for the Cardinal’s women’s team, is a taskmaster when it comes to her players keeping up with their schoolwork. Finals are next week, which only adds to the stress.

Lee has a history paper as well as a take-home final exam in her Renewable Energy class due on Monday. The latter, in her words, “has a lot of math and physics, which I’m not that good at so, hopefully, I’ll pass that one.” Then she has the final exam in her General Business class on Tuesday.

That would be tough enough for any student-athlete. But Lee is coming off a stretch of golf that included the NCAA Championship, where Stanford advanced to the semi-finals before falling to eventual champion Arizona. So after a couple of practice-round days in the Oklahoma heat, Lee played four rounds of stroke play and two rounds of match play at Karsten Creek.  

Then Lee headed directly to Alabama where she got into the field at the U.S. Women’s Open as first alternate.

“It was really exciting but it was unexpected,” she said. “It came off the NCAAs the previous week so that was a really quick turnaround for me. I didn’t really play well (at Shoal Creek) the first day and I missed the cut.”

(She also locked herself in the bathroom on the 10th hole during the first round, an episode that caused a great deal of panic and embarrassment.)

“But overall just being out there and being able to learn from the pros is always a really special opportunity,” Lee said. “I haven’t played in the Open since 2014 at Pinehurst so I obviously wasn’t going to turn it down. The Open was a really great learning experience.”  

From Birmingham, Lee took the first flight out to New York so she could travel with her Curtis Cup teammates into the city, visit the New York Stock Exchange and have dinner atop Freedom Tower. Practice rounds followed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the Opening Ceremony of her second appearance in the biennial event.

“Yeah, it’s been a hectic couple of weeks but I’m just taking all of it in and learning from every experience and just looking forward to this week,” Lee said.

“Oh, I don’t think they’ve missed a beat,” Team USA captain Virginia Derby Grimes said of her players who came off the NCAAs and the U.S. Women’s Open. “We sort of gave them the option of – you know, you can come in any time you want on Monday. If you want to sleep in, you can come in on a later flight. That’s fine. But they wanted to be on that first flight out and be here with the rest of their team members.”

Right now, Lee is running on adrenaline and nerves, which she said definitely kick in every time the flag is raised in a team event.

“It’s always an honor to represent our country,” she said. “It’s going to be really fun. Really excited for tomorrow and I can’t wait to get out there. I’m sure we all are.”

As for the rest of her hectic schedule, Lee smiled, shrugged and said, “It’s the life of a student-athlete. I planned a light quarter for myself because I knew I’d be really busy with nationals and potentially making the Curtis Cup team.

“I had no idea that I was going to make the U.S. Open as well so that was an extra week. So, yeah, it’s been three weeks back-to-back-to-back. I mean, it’s fun. I’m hanging in there. Barely but yeah.”


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