U.S. Solheim rookie Lee quietly fitting in


ST. LEON-ROT, Germany – Alison Lee has been quiet so far this week. She’s the only rookie on either Solheim Cup team, she’s only 20 years old, she’s been on the LPGA only a year and she doesn’t know many of the other U.S. players very well. 

“How could you not be quiet with this group?” Angela Stanford quipped. “She can’t get a word in.”

Said Lee: “I don’t know any of the girls on the team at all. I’ve played with Michelle [Wie] a couple of times and some of the other girls a couple of times in a few events. Definitely the bus ride [from Evian to Solheim Cup earlier in the week] was a lot of fun. I got to know a lot of the girls a lot better.”

Teammates admit that Lee is coming out of her shell a little bit over the past day or so. She was hit with a minor bout of food poisoning on Tuesday and did not feel well again Wednesday morning. But she managed to sneak out for a nine-hole practice round before heavy rain hit. (UPDATE: Lee, as noted below, missed the team gala Wednesday evening because of lingering illness caused by food poisoning)

Wie seems to have taken Lee under her wing this week and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the two play together a couple times. They have already practiced together for two days, and Lee chipped in during a match against Stanford and Brittany Lincicome.

For Lee, the connection with Wie came from being a part of the Junior Solheim Cup team the past few years. They’ve spent time together and Lee has always admired the way Wie turned pro at an early age, dealt with all the media exposure and yet still graduated from college.

“Getting to know Michelle, I feel like we’re really similar in some aspects, like we have the same thought process, I guess, for certain things,” Lee said. “It’s definitely been really cool.”

Said Wie: “It’s nice to have a rookie on the team because it brings back the memories for us. It puts the whole experience into perspective.”

Keep in mind that Lee isn’t a typical rookie. She made the Solheim Cup team via the points list while playing on tour for just one year, while everyone else has collected points for the past two years. Lee has six top-10 finishes this year and ultimately finished 10th on the U.S. list.

“It’s always great to have a rookie on the team, some fresh ideas, some energy to bring to the team,” said U.S. captain Juli Inkster. “And she also happened to be a pretty good player. So it was a win-win for me.”