He was introduced to the course as a teenager.
Back then Eddie Lee IV worked in the pro shop and drove golf carts at Ottawa Park.
Yesterday, the former employee earned a promotion. He was, for one day anyway, the boss.
Lee won the annual Toledo Metro Golf Association's S.P. Jermain Match Play Championship - his first title at the place where he spent six or seven summers of his youth earning a few bucks.
Payday never looked so good as it did yesterday.
"It's been my boyhood dream to win this tournament," Lee said.
With everything square entering the final two holes, Lee, from about 20 feet, birdied the par-5 No. 15 hole - they only played 16 because the final two were under water - for the margin in his 1-up win over Scott Winckowski.
It was a classic City League clash if you will. Lee graduated from St. Francis in 1991; Winckowski from Central Catholic in '82.
If Lee's name doesn't sound familiar, well, maybe it's because it shouldn't. He was cut from the Knights team in both his freshman and sophomore years then began working at the course, just minutes from where he grew up on Bancroft Street. When Lee wasn't on the clock, he was playing, and improving. He made the team the following two years and hasn't put down his clubs since.
"I played thousands of rounds out here," said Lee, who advanced to the semifinals of this tournament two years ago and the quarterfinals last year. "This is pretty much my favorite course."
Not so much for Winckowski. Not yesterday, anyway.
He squandered several opportunities to win or tie holes, missing makable birdie putts on every hole from No. 8 to No. 12. They lipped out, he left them short. They missed by an inch to the left, and then by an inch to the right.
When he finally sank a putt for par on No. 13, Winckowski threw his arms in the air sarcastically and danced a little, as fans playfully applauded.
One spectator even yelled, "He made one!"
"I hit the ball really well today, the ball just didn't go in the hole," said Winckowski, who also finished second here in 1993. "The speed of the greens was a little different today than it was [in prior rounds]. It was hard to adjust to and I just couldn't get the ball in the hole."
Winckowski won his Saturday semifinal match 3 and 2 over Clint Schreiber, while Lee topped Justin Kruse by the same margin in a match between last weekend's qualifying-round medalists.
Winckowski, who played at Eastern Michigan University, took an early lead over Lee when he birdied the par-4 No. 2. That was erased when Lee, sporting a pink polo shirt and a blue baseball cap from the movie Finding Nemo, made birdie two holes later. Lee did the same on No. 6 to take the lead, a lead that stood until Winckowski came close to a hole-in-one on par-3 No. 14. He tapped in from about an inch away and things were all square again.
"I was thinking, 'two more holes, I can make another birdie' and it just didn't happen," he said. "Eddie made a birdie and he wins."
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