Category Archives: Katie Lee

Covering all bases: Katie Lee, Bill Carter, M’s attendance & more

Congrats to Katie Lee for her strong showing at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships at The Home Course in Dupont. Lee knocked off Annie Park, the 2013 NCAA champ from USC, 1 up in the round of 64 but lost the next day.

Park and Erynne Lee, Katie’s older sister, are good friends and were teammates on the U.S. Curtis Cup team. Erynne Lee’s taking summer classes prior to her senior year at UCLA. Katie Lee’s also going to UCLA, but will reportedly concentrate on her studies. She will also be the team manager of the women’s golf team. After this week, you wonder if she’ll have second thoughts about putting her clubs away. UCLA coaches are probably thinking the same thing.

… Bill Carter and the Blame are playing at Brother Don’s in Bremerton on July 31. Carter’s a Central Kitsap grad who once played in the Chymes of Freedom. He’s been based in Austin for years and will do a lecture at the Port Townsend Blues Festival and Workshop the day before. His song  “Anything Made of Paper,” was named one of the top 50 Songs of 2013 by American Songwriter Magazine.

… The crowds were pretty good for the Mariners’ three-game series against Oakland before the All-Star break: 32,971 on Friday, 39,204 on Saturday and 25,944 for Sunday’s finale. Almost 100,000 (98,119) for three games. But it’s nothing to get excited about. Despite putting a pretty good product on the field, the fans aren’t exactly flocking to the friendly confines of Safeco Field. Seattle ranks No. 24 in MLB, averaging 23,858 per game. Oakland, always trashed for its low attendance, is No. 23, pulling in 24,137 a game.

… I like the Oakland A’s. There, I said it (or at least wrote it). Maybe the A’s should be our hated rival, kind of like the 49ers are enemy No. 1 when it comes to the Seahawks. But I can’t dig up any hatred for Oakland. It’s a fun team to watch, and the A’s are not coached by Jim Harbaugh.

… Not very kind, but my buddy tells me the Mariners have their own Group of Death. It’s called Ackley, Smoak and  Miller. Ouch!

… Speaking of attendance, the Sounders pulled 64,207 for its game against rival Portland on July 13 and are averaging 42,771 fans a game at The Clink.

… Hard not to like Bjorn Bjorke, the Olympic College golf coach who works for the Ryan Moore Golf Club. Good golfer, good coach, good guy. Here’s a story I wrote about the 34-year-old South Kitsap grad.

… Didn’t watch it, but they tell me the Seattle Seahawks stole the show at the ESPYs.

… If you were the Mariners’ GM, would you pull the trigger on a trade with the Rays for lefty David Price and utility man Ben Zobrist? Who would you give up?

… The Cave Singers are putting in another appearance at the Hi-Fidelity Lounge in Bremerton on Friday, August July 18. Good band. Check ’em out.

… While researching this story about Bremerton’s Marvin Williams, I was shocked to find out that Kevin Durant led the NBA in technical fouls with 20. Yeah, really. Look it up.

… An 0-for-19 slump has dropped Drew Vettleson’s batting average at Double-A Harrisburg to .200. The Central Kitsap grad had hit three home runs and driven in 11 runs for the Washington Nationals farm team.

… South Kitsap grad Brady Steiger, the former Lewis-Clark State star, is having trouble getting untracked at Class A Staten Island, a Yankees’ farm club. He’s hitting .168 overall and is just 4 for his last 32.

… Aaron Cunningham, another SK product, is hitting .253 at Triple-A Reno. He’s still looking for his first home run for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ affiliate.

… Ripken Reyes, the son of former standout Olympic High athlete Paul Reyes and Central Kitsap grad Heidi (Westhoff) Reyes, is playing in a baseball tournament in Seattle this weekend. Reyes, a middle infielder from Stockton, Calif., has already verbally committed to the University of California. He’ll be a senior next year. Ripken was one of 40 players invited to the Team USA U-17 national development camp, which takes place Aug. 4-8 in Cary, North Carolina.

… Young softball players, ages 8 to 18, are invited to an Olympic College softball skills clinic on Saturday (July 19), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Pendergast Park in West Hills. Cost is $60. OC head coach Dan Haas, assistants Dick Thompson and yours truly, plus OC players will be hand on to provide instruction. Hope to see you there.



Tragedy for Lee family

News has been circulating in the community about the death of Debbie Lee, the mother of accomplished Kitsap golfers Erynne and Katie Lee. I haven’t talked directly to the family or seen an obituary, so I’ve been hesitant to report the news but after talking to several people I feel confident that what information I have gathered is accurate.

Our thoughts are with Erynne, Katie and their father, Brian. Our staff has had enough interaction with the girls and the family over the years to know how painful this loss must be and our thoughts are with them at his difficult time. Brian and Debbie sacrificed so much for Erynne and Katie, two of the sweetest girls around. You could always tell much much they appreciated the love and direction their parents provided.

When asked about her parents financial committment following an exhibition against the guys in October, 2010, at Kitsap Golf & Country Club, Katie Lee said:

“My sister and I, we always have to keep that in mind. We can’t let ourselves get off track to like fool around. We know our dad and mom are always working hard and we have to pay back for what they’re doing right now.”

Debbie and Brian Lee pushed their daughters to be successful on and off the golf course, but they weren’t pushy. And there’s a difference.

Here’s what I’ve been able to put together about Debbie Lee’s death:

Debbie Lee died last week in South Korea. Her memorial service was held over the weekend in the Los Angeles area, where the Lee family resided before moving to Kitsap County. Debbie was in her mid-40s.

According to golf pro Ted Naff, who has worked with both Lee sisters as a swing coach, Debbie Lee hadn’t been feeling well and she flew to South Korea to get checked out. She had a heart attack, followed by a stroke while in a Korean hospital on Oct. 31 or Nov. 1, and never came out of a coma. Her daughters flew to Korea at one point to be with her.
While her husband, Brian Lee, introduced the girls to golf, Debbie was there for every step of their  journey.
If the girls were playing a practice round at the Kitsap Golf & Country Club, or hitting balls on the range at Gold Mountain, she wasn’t far away.
“She was unbelievably involved and sort of did everything for them,” said Scott Alexander, director of golf at Gold Mountain Golf Club. “It’s a very, very close family. It’s a tragedy.”
“She’d drive them out to the course and was always there for them,” said KG&CC pro Al Patterson, who put together a pair of fund-raising exhibitions for the Lees. (Brian Lee returned the $300 donations that were awarded to both daughters after UCLA’s compliance office ruled that Erynne couldn’t accept hers; Patterson said UCLA told him the club could make a donation to the Lee family, which is OK with NCAA rules).
Naff said he met Debbie Lee when he was teaching a beginning golf class at Olympic College.
“She came up one day and said, ‘I’ve got a couple daughters who have some talent. Would you look at them?'”
Erynne Lee, currently a freshman at UCLA — her mom and dad both graduated from UCLA — is ranked No. 14 among women college players in the country and tied for No. 39 overall among women amateurs by Golfweek Magazine. She qualified for the 2008 and 2011 U.S. Women’s Open. She reached the semifinals of the 2008 U.S. Amateur, and the quarterfinals of that tournament in 2010 and 2011. She’s been the Washington State Golf Association Women’s Player of the Year three of the last four years, and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association’s Women’s Player of the Year twice.
Katie Lee, a junior at Central Kitsap, has already played in a U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Girls.
Both sisters have talked about their desire to eventually play on the LPGA Tour.
Erynne and Katie placed 1-2 at the Washington State Women’s Amateur this summer. Erynne and Katie were first and fifth at the Class 4A state high school tournament last spring, helping Central Kitsap to a second-place finish.
Debbie Lee was there for almost every shot at every one of her daughters’ tournaments.
“She was very involved, no question about it,” Naff said.
Naff, who caddied for Eyrnne Lee at her first U.S. Women’s Open in 2008, said he’s talked to both sisters since their mother’s death.
“It’s very sad of course,” he said. “But they’re pretty well adjusted, stable kids. They are dealing with it as well as anybody possibly could.”