North Texas Daily

Women’s golfer Sol Lee dazzling in first year with Mean Green

Women’s golfer Sol Lee dazzling in first year with Mean Green

Sol takes a chunk of grass and soil out of the ground while hitting the ball.

Women’s golfer Sol Lee dazzling in first year with Mean Green
October 26
17:17 2016

On the 18th tee box at Denton Country Club, a golfer short in stature but long in distance holds out her driver with one hand, like Babe Ruth calling his shot.

The alignment method that’s become part of North Texas sophomore Sol Lee’s pre-shot routine harkens back to the prediction she made at the Johnie Imes Invitational. After shooting a disappointing 82, she told Mean Green women’s assistant golf coach Kendra Little she would bounce back.

“I was walking with Sol at the last hole and she wasn’t having a good round, and she stands by me and says, ‘I’m gonna shoot under par next round,’” Little said. “And she did. She shot something like 69. That just speaks to how she operates and her mentality.”

Lee was integral in setting a record that day for the lowest round in program history. Lee said her determination and grit is her strength.

“I don’t get discouraged when I play golf,” Lee said. “If I have a mess-up, I know how to come back strong because that’s what motivates me. But it doesn’t hurt to hit it farther with the driver.”

Lee has found immediate success at North Texas after transferring over the summer from the University of New Mexico. Outside of the first round slip up in Missouri at the Johnie Imes Invite, Lee has consistently scored in the 70s and 60s and carries the second-best scoring average on the team.

Lee was born in South Korea and her mom was a gymnast on the Korean National team, but her golf game was built on the American dream.

Sol wedges the ball towards the green from the fairway.

Sol Lee wedges the ball towards the green from the fairway. Jake King

Her parents both worked full time after coming to America in 2001 and would drop Lee off at the course before work and pick her up once they clocked out.

Lee said those long days practicing taught her independence.

“It’s just you and the course out there,” Lee said. “You’re out there and you can’t hide behind anything, you’ve got to show what you got. It’s very independent. You’re competing against other players but they don’t affect you — it’s all you.”

Lee’s golf career truly took off in her freshman year at Coppell High School. She said she struggled to begin the year, shooting in the 90s but by the end of the season finished shooting in the 70s, earning her the most improved player award.

“All the other girls were at high levels but when I beat them I knew I had it in me as well,” Lee said.

Lee said with the independence and long days spent practicing came success that united her family.

“My parents always cared deeply about my results in golf and it was really cool because they’d be so into it and we don’t do very many family things and it kind of brought the family together,” Lee said.

After graduating from Coppell High, Lee went to play at the University of New Mexico and despite playing well averaging 74.8 strokes per round, she didn’t feel like she was a part of the team.

“It just wasn’t a good fit for me,” Lee said. “It was hard to be a part of the team when they were all European and I was just kind of off on my own. I was looking for a new school, Akers was kind enough to let me visit and I made my decision.”

Head coach Michael Akers said Sol is an integral part of his plan to improve the team 100 spots in the national rankings by the end of the year.

He said she’s galvanized the team, specifically raising the level of play for senior Eji Kwon who’s led the team in scoring average since her sophomore year.

“Eji’s having the best year of her career so far,” Akers said. “Competition is always good and those two are pushing each other right now. If we had two more players step into that situation we would be very good.”

But Little said Lee is a singular talent.

“Sol is just impressive to me in a couple of different aspects,” Little said. “The way she hits the ball for the size she is something I’ve rarely seen. And I’ve seen the best of the best play, and just the way she compresses the ball is impressive.”

Lee, who’s just a shade over 5 feet tall, can’t describe how she hits it so far, but she did say she takes pride in bombing it past her opponents.

“I was prideful in high school about it,” Lee said. “It was great to tee off and then the other girls would tee off and I could just slowly walk to my ball and the other girls were still catching up.”

Lee hopes her power will help propel her to a career in golf. She has chosen to study Kinesiology to help teach the game in case a professional career doesn’t work out. But despite her hedging her bets, she’s confident she’ll get where she needs to go.

“I believe as long as I work hard enough, I’ll get the results I want,” Lee said. “It’s not gonna be a straight road, there might be some curvature, I just know as long as I keep going the direction I’m going in going to reach it eventually.”

Featured Image: Sol Lee takes a chunk of grass and soil out of the ground while hitting the ball. Jake King

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Austin Jackson

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