Warren, Lee tied for Maine Open golf lead at 66

Posted June 21, 2011, at 5:54 p.m.
Last modified June 21, 2011, at 8:28 p.m.
Beon Yeong Lee
Dave Barber/BDN
Beon Yeong Lee
Beon Yeong Lee of Cote-St-Luc, Quebec, practices his putting at Falmouth Country Club after the opening round of the 93rd Maine Open Golf Championship on Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Lee is tied for the lead with Falmouth assistant pro Shawn Warren at 6-under-par-66.
Dave Barber/BDN
Beon Yeong Lee of Cote-St-Luc, Quebec, practices his putting at Falmouth Country Club after the opening round of the 93rd Maine Open Golf Championship on Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Lee is tied for the lead with Falmouth assistant pro Shawn Warren at 6-under-par-66.

FALMOUTH — When Beon Yeong Lee and his parents arrived in Canada, the agent registering the 16-year-old Lee misspelled his given name, which was Bun.

Lee, now 22, has taken it in stride, though.

“It’s spelled Beon, but you can call me Bun,’’ he said with a smile.

Fortunately for Lee, his golf game wasn’t similarly mishandled, and it appears to be rounding into shape now for the young man who turned pro in September.

Lee posted a 6-under-par 66 Tuesday at Falmouth Country Club and shares the lead after the opening round of the 93rd Charlie’s Maine Open with Falmouth assistant pro Shawn Warren of Windham.

Warren and Lee are two strokes ahead of Jeffrey Castle of Nottingham, Md., and three ahead of Eric Egloff of Sandy Spring, Md., Matt Parziale of Brockton, Mass., and Michael Carbone of Brewster, Mass. Hermon native Mike Baker and John Hickson of Topsham head another five pros at 70.

Jason Gall of Augusta is the low amateur at 71, a stroke ahead of Ricky Jones of Thomaston.

Defending champion Dustin Cone of Port St. Lucie, Fla., opened with a 74, and two-time Maine Amateur titlist Ryan Gay of Pittston posted a 75.

The field will be cut to the low 50 and ties for Wednesday’s final round, plus anyone within 10 strokes of the lead, enough Maine pros to have 10 playing in the final round, enough senior pros to make 10 and enough amateurs to make 20.

Lee is a native of South Korea, and he was the reason his parents decided to move.

Lee has an older sister and an older brother, both of whom studied hard and used their educations to forge their careers.

Lee’s parents decided he should take a different path.

‘’My parents wanted an athlete (next) and that was me,’’ he said, a smile lighting his face.

His parents had both played golf, so it was decided that golf would be his sport.

“I started when I was 11,’’ he said.

This was at a time when a number of golfers were making their marks in the world, especially the U.S.

As Lee showed more promise, his parents made the decision to move from their homeland across the Pacific Ocean.

“They wanted to move to North America so I could play golf,’’ said Lee. “The fastest way to do that was to go to Canada.’’

Now Lee and and his family live just outside Montreal.

“Ten minutes from downtown,’’ Lee said.

Lee played as an amateur in a Canadian PGA Tour event last fall, and after that he turned pro.

“I shot 78-65,’’ said Lee. “It was nerve-wracking that first round. I made 8 on the first hole (a par-5).’’

Then he came back the next day to post 65.

“That gave me a lot of confidence,’’ said Lee. “After that, I thought I was ready to turn pro, and I played great after that.’’

He hasn’t won any events yet, but he’s still learning valuable lessons.

“I was four strokes off the lead at (the) Vermont (Open), so I decided I would try to force things,’’ said Lee. “I left myself on the short side (off the side of the green closest to the pin, leaving little room to work with) and it cost me a few bogeys.’’

The lesson he learned that day could be a big help in Wednesday’s final round at Falmouth.

“Tomorrow, I’ll just play my game,’’ he said.

That game includes his belief in his short game.

“From 40 to 120 yards, I feel I can get it within 5 feet anytime I want,’’ he said.

He had been having some trouble with his putting, though. He was thinking too much while standing over his putts.

“I changed my routine, tried to be more aggressive, and it’s worked out for me,’’ he said.

Lee, who started on No. 10, had one eagle, on the par-5 eighth, five birdies and only one bogey. Three of the birdies were also on the front nine, where he shot 5-under 31.

He prefers the back nine, though.

“I love the back nine. I love the links style,’’ he said.

Warren, who won this event as an amateur in 2004, received his biggest boost with a pair of eagles on the front nine, the par-5 sixth and eighth holes. He also had four birdies and two bogeys.

Castle birdied Nos. 4-6, bogeyed 7 and birdied 8 to run in 33, birdied 10 and 16 to get to 5 under, but bogeyed the final hole to fall two back.

Parziale had a solid stretch in the middle, making seven birdies in nine holes, but he struggled early with bogeys on Nos. 2-4 and then bogeyed 18.

Hickson, who won the Maine Open in 2008 at Fox Ridge Golf Club in Auburn, birdied 8, 11, 12 and 16 to more than offset bogeys on 2 and 14.

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