Lee, McCullough Lead International Field at Sahalee Players Championship

Min Woo Lee
Min Woo Lee

Sammamish, Wash. - Min Woo Lee of Australia and Drew McCullough of Richland, Wash. each shot 4-under 68 to sit tied for the lead after the first round of the 23rd Sahalee Players Championship (SPC), being held at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash.

The co-leaders are two of 11 players in the 66-man field of elite amateurs to break par on the championship layout.

Lee and McCullough are both having stellar years. Lee, still just 17, has won the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur, and also won the 2017 Western Australia Amateur for the second time (he also won it in 2015), and was a finalist in the 2017 Australian Amateur.

McCullough, a rising senior at the University of Wyoming, won the Washington Open earlier this year, playing against the professionals, and finished tied for second last week in the Seattle Amateur, losing in a three-man sudden-death playoff. In 2016 he was a semifinalist at the PNGA Men's Amateur.

Lee arrived in the U.S. just three days ago, and only got a quick first look at Sahalee's tree-lined fairways over the past couple days. "I'm still suffering a little bit of jetlag," Lee said after his round today. "But it's all good. I played solid today, really solid. This is really a great course, already rank it in the top three of the courses I've played." Lee is currently ranked No. 51 in the world according to WAGR.

Cole Madey
Cole Madey

He will spend two months in the U.S., playing in the Western Amateur and U.S. Amateur, and will try to defend his title at the U.S. Junior Amateur.

Tied for second, one shot back of the leaders after each shooting 3-under 69, is Cole Madey of West Linn, Ore. and Sulman Raza of Eugene, Ore.

Last week Madey, a rising junior at UCLA, was in the fourth group to tee off early this morning, and immediately posted his 69 to take an early clubhouse lead. "Yeah, I've definitely been playing well lately," he said. "It's been a good summer so far. I qualified for the U.S. Amateur last week as well, so I hope to keep it going here (at Sahalee)." Last week, Madey also won the Oregon Amateur.

"For me, I think the key is to stay aggressive off the tee. I hit a lot of drivers here despite all the trees. You just need to stay aggressive on this course."

The SPC is being contested over 72 holes of stroke play. The second and third rounds will both be held Thursday, July 6, and the final round held on Friday, July 7.

The first tee time for tomorrow morning's third round is 8:00 a.m. off the first and 10th tees, with the afternoon's third round starting at 1:30 p.m.

Click here for complete hole-by-hole coverage, and to follow along with live scoring during each of the rounds.

Admission is free to watch the championship.

Click here for a complete list of competitive bios of the players competing in this year's Sahalee Players Championship.

The SPC was rated an "A" event in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) before taking a hiatus last year while the club hosted the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, and each year the event draws an international field of the finest amateur players.

Five of the previous 13 SPC champions have gone on to win the Ben Hogan Award, given to the nation's top collegiate golfer and the list of previous SPC participants now playing on the PGA Tour continues to grow each year.

Past champions of this prestigious amateur championship include Kyle Stanley, Casey Martin, Peter Uihlein, Nick Taylor, Daniel Summerhays, Ryan Moore, Chris Williams, Arron Oberholser and Jason Gore, among others, all of whom would go on to win on the PGA or European tours. The SPC scoring record at Sahalee is the 16-under 272 (68-69-68-67) shot in 2004 by Moore, a native of Puyallup, Wash.

Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash. has been the site of the SPC since 1992, and has hosted numerous top-level events in golf, including the 1974 PNGA Men's Amateur, 1978 Pacific Coast Amateur, 1998 PGA Championship, 2002 WGC-NEC Invitational, 2010 U.S. Senior Open, and 2016 KPMG Women's PGA Championship.