(Reuters) - New Zealander Danny Lee took control of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba with an electrifying run of birdies in Sunday’s final round before his bid for a maiden PGA Tour victory was undone by a bout of nerves on the back nine.
The 24-year-old stormed to the top of the leaderboard with seven consecutive birdies from the par-four third but lost momentum after the turn as he carded a four-under-par 67 on the El Camaleon course at Playa del Carmen in Mexico.
Lee, who was born in Seoul and moved with his family to New Zealand at the age of eight, had to settle for a share of third place at 15-under 269, two strokes behind triumphant American Charley Hoffman.
“I am happy with where I finished but the back nine on this golf course is very tough,” Lee told Golf Channel.
”You kind of have to hit perfect golf shots to make birdies ... which I didn’t do. I think I was a little bit nervous and I was rushing myself.
“I should have taken a little bit more time but there’s always next week and next year,” said Lee, who sank a 10-foot putt at the ninth for his seventh birdie in a row before he fell back with bogeys at the 12th, 15th and the last.
“I am looking forward to playing all the (PGA Tour) events in 2015.”
Lee, who burst onto the world stage by winning the 2008 U.S. amateur title, has bounced between the PGA Tour, the lower-tier Web.Com Tour and the European Tour in recent years.
He became the European Tour’s youngest champion aged 18 at the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia and served notice that he was destined for success on the PGA Tour by finishing second at the Puerto Rico Open in March.
“Playing all the tours for the last four, five years gave me lot of experience,” said Lee. “I learned what I have to do with my game and how to manage my schedule and stuff. I think I‘m putting all those puzzles together nicely.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry