Commack's Suzie Lee already has two state championships in the...

Commack's Suzie Lee already has two state championships in the bag as she swings for another this year. (Apr. 6, 2010) Credit: John Dunn

It was a question that should have been answered without hesitation. But Suzie Lee had to think about the answer.

When asked if she had won three straight state championships - it's actually two - Lee tilted her head, a bit confused, and paused to wonder if perhaps she had won three.

After some deliberation, the Commack senior concluded that it was in fact "only'' two consecutive state championships.

It's easy for Lee to lose sight of how many state titles she has won, considering the number of national tournaments she competes in. How she captured that second title, however, is unforgettable.

On the final day of the state tournament at Foxfire Golf Course in Baldwinsville last June, Lee erased a six-stroke deficit and pulled even heading to what would be a dramatic 18th hole . . .

It was five years earlier when Lee's mother placed her in a summer golf group at Clearview Golf Course. At the urging of her instructor, who recognized an instant talent with a powerful swing that was more advanced than most boys her age, Lee began to pursue golf.

Lee quit her swim team and Taekwondo, where she was a black belt, to focus entirely on golf. Her music lessons - she played five instruments, ranging from flute to electric guitar - also stopped. Five years of golf training began, preparing her for the day she would be stuck in the sand on the 18th hole at states.

With her second shot on 18, Lee's title hopes were shaky. Nestled in a greenside bunker, her chances of repeating as champion seemed as buried as her ball . . .

Ranked 25th nationally by the American Junior Golf Association, Lee finished ninth in the U.S. Girls Junior Championship and fourth in the Junior PGA Championship last July.

"Everyone would tell me how amazing she was,'' first-year Commack coach Charlie Bauer said. "Watching her in the first couple weeks of practice, it became very apparent to me that everything I had heard about her was true.''

Lee's strength is her driver, which she hits about 265 yards, a length that would make most grown men envious. But a driver is of no use when your ball is deep in the sand.

Trying to save par, Lee swung away with her sand wedge. "I was hoping to get out of the bunker, go up-and-down, tie it and maybe go to sudden death,'' Lee said. "I had no idea it was going in . . . ''

Forgive Lee when she takes time to recount her golf victories. The calculations will only grow more difficult, presumably, as the victories mount at the University of South Carolina, where she has signed a letter of intent, and eventually the LPGA.

"Suzie wants to be a successful LPGA player,'' her mother, Jean Lee, said. "A Hall of Fame player, not just a player.''

The Hall of Fame tops the list of ambitious goals for the 17-year-old Lee. She also hopes to qualify for the 2016 Olympics and lead the United States to a gold medal.

"It's not really pressure,'' Lee said of her lofty ambitions. "It's just my dream, so that's what I set for myself. I'm just chasing my own dreams.''

The ball emerged from a cloud of sand and touched down on the green 10 feet from the hole, then rolled toward the cup and dropped. The improbable birdie gave Lee a one-stroke victory and her second straight state championship.

Or was it her third?

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