Fitting Honor

2011 CGA Match Play champ Michael Lee will be inducted posthumously into Colorado School of Mines Athletics Hall of Fame in October

By Gary Baines – 8/2/2022

As Ed Mate, executive director of the Colorado Golf Association, noted last year regarding former Colorado golf standout Michael Lee, “We’re a community and when we lost Michael Lee, the community lost a very, very special person.”

Lee, the 2011 CGA Match Play champion, passed away on Dec. 22, 2020 at age 28 after battling Covid-19. But though he’s gone, he’s certainly not forgotten. In fact, Lee is being remembered in several ongoing, tangible ways:

Michael Lee en route to winning the CGA Match Play title in 2011.

— The CGA dedicated its 2021 men’s championship season to Lee’s memory. And the winner of the CGA Match Play for the 10-year period from 2021 through ’30 will receive a medal in honor of Lee, and a plaque with the names of those champions will hang in the CGA offices.

— The Mike Lee Memorial Tournament, which benefits the Michael Ray Lee Foundation, has been held each of the last two years at Greeley Country Club. Lee grew up in Greeley and graduated from Greeley Central High School.

— At the Colorado School of Mines, where Lee excelled in NCAA Division II golf, the Lee family established a captain’s scholarship in honor of Michael. And earlier this year the Orediggers’ indoor golf training facility was renamed in Michael’s honor.

Lee with the Match Play trophy 11 years ago.

And on Friday, another honor came Michael Lee’s way posthumously as it was announced that he’ll be inducted into the Mines Athletics Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2022 on Oct. 8.

At the school, Lee was a two-time Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Golfer of the Year and twice was captain of the Mines golf team. He won four individual college titles while playing for the Orediggers and earned NCAA Division II honorable-mention All-American status in 2013. Lee helped Mines finish a program-best 11th at the NCAA DII national championship in 2012. 

Lee, who earned his degree at Mines in petroleum engineering in 2014, had been working as a Colorado-based production engineer for Occidental Petroleum. He was living in the Denver metro area.

“I think the most important thing that needs to be celebrated about Mike is his character,” longtime friend and former high school teammate Parker Edens said when the CGA decided to honor Lee in an ongoing way. “Mike was a man of high integrity, which is what I think made him so respected as a golfer. Mike was the purest of humans; he cared more about others than himself. He was so giving and caring for others and I think that is how Mike impacted people most. That is the legacy of Mike that will be remembered.”