The Brazilian born golfer tees off at 8:51 a.m. Thursday at the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort, which boasts a prize purse of $6,100,000.
Born to parents of South Korean descent, Lee finished in the top 25 of the Web.com Tour money list and earned his first PGA Tour card for the 2015-16 season.
“It’s my first year, yeah, I’m a rookie,” the mild mannered pro said after he finished practicing from a greenside bunker during a round of golf on Tuesday afternoon.
Lee expressed no fear despite not winning on the Canadian circuit. He had five runner-up finishes, losing to future northern PGA Tour star Graham DeLaet in 2009 at the Players Cup.
Is he intimidated playing at the highest level of golf at a prestigious event counted towards the coveted Tour championship?
“No, not really,” Lee said. “Just ready to tackle this event.”
A fellow player of South Korean pedigree, K.J. Choi, has flourished at the Valspar Championship, winning in 2002 and 2006.
“K.J. Choi, yes, he loves this place,” Lee said as he made his way over to the tee box on the 11th hole.
On the horizon, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, Jordan Spieth, was set to tee off in front of a large gallery for a practice round.
Spieth, Lee and many other notable pros were out at Copperhead on Tuesday attempting to navigate the new turf and pin alignments.
“I think it’s very challenging. Overall, it’s very narrow,” Lee said just before grabbing a driver from his caddie. “So you’ve got to hit very good tee shots. The greens, you have to watch for the slopes on the greens, and of course the rough is pretty thick, so, I think it’s a pretty good test overall.”
Thursday morning provides a blank canvas for the optimistic rookie who is looking to use his clubs like a brush and paint some new PGA history thanks to the success he earned on the Canadian tour.