At long last Michelle Wie gets 1st LPGA Tour win

By Associated PressNovember 16, 2009, 1:14 pm

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP)—Michelle Wie, LPGA Tour champion.

Imagine that.

Wie ended her long wait by tapping in a birdie putt Sunday at the LorenaOchoa Invitational, and her first tour title may finally quiet the skeptics whosecond-guessed her career decisions and questioned the fuss over a playerwithout a pro victory.

“Wowwwww …… never thought this would feel THIS great!!!!” Wie postedon her Twitter account.

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The 20-year-old closed with a 3-under 69 for a two-stroke victory over PaulaCreamer. Wie finished it off in style, hitting a greenside bunker shot within afoot on the final hole.

When it was over, it was time for a celebration that was a decade in themaking. Wie pulled the ball from the 18th hole, looked up to the sky, let out abig sigh of relief, bounced up and down and pumped her right fist.

After all the near misses, after all the expectations, she was a winner.

“It’s definitely off my back,” Wie said. “I think that hopefully lifewill be a lot better, but I still have a lot of work to do.”

Solheim Cup teammates Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lincicome showered Wie onthe 18th green.

“Just seeing them come out and pour beer all over me, it was a greatfeeling,” Wie said. “I’ve always seen it on TV and I’ve always wanted peopleto pour beer on me. It was as great as I thought it was.”

Her parents, dad B.J. and mom Bo, were there, too, for an embrace.

“I think it’s just so awesome, seeing them on the 18th green and huggingthem,” Wie said. “You know, we have been through a lot as a family, and it’sjust so great that they are here to share my highs and to keep me up from thelows, as well.”

Wie earned $220,000 to push her season winnings just over $900,000. The wincame in her 65th LPGA Tour event—she had finished second six times.

Wie won the 2003 USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links, the Stanford student’sonly significant victory until Sunday.

“Right now it feels fantastic,” Wie said. “It’s a great year. I wentthrough some ups and downs … And obviously this tournament is the icing on thecake.”

Pressel (67), Jiyai Shin (71) and Cristie Kerr (72) were three back. Wiefinished at 13-under 275 after starting the day at the Guadalajara Country Clubtied for the lead with Kerr at 10 under.

“Congrats to michelle!!” Pressel tweeted.

Wie first qualified for a USGA event at age 10 and played an LPGA event whenshe was 12. She joined the LPGA this season and has begun to show the sizzlinggame that has made her arguably the biggest attraction in women’s golf.

Dressed in red with her lucky white Solheim Cup shoes, Wie had a few shakymoments but she was steadier down the stretch as her rivals faltered. In thepast, it’s often been the Hawaiian who has stumbled.

The 6-foot Wie stood tall despite a nagging sprained left ankle that forcedher to wear a large, black brace that extends 6 inches above her shoe top.

She had chances to pull away on the front nine, but couldn’t quite do it andfinished with a 2-under 34 at the turn—12 under for the tournament. She wentto 13 under with a birdie on 11, giving her a one-shot lead over Creamer andKerr. Wie bogeyed the next hole when her escape shot from under a cluster oftrees squarely hit a trunk, the ball rebounding into the fairway behind her.

But she made par through 17.

Creamer drew even with Wie with an eagle on 10. But two bogeys down thestretch ruined her chances of victory.

“I gave it a chance, and Michelle played great,” said Creamer, who hasbattled stomach problems for a year and fought off back and thumb injuries. Sheis winless this year after eight career victories.

“I feel a lot better with my golf,” she said. “It’s just unfortunate thatyou’re so close, yet you’re so far away.”

The co-leader with Wie after three rounds, Kerr played even on the frontnine before reaching 12 under with birdies on 10 and 11. After 12 holes, Wie,Creamer and Kerr were tied, but Kerr faded with bogeys on 15 and 16.

Shin, the rookie of the year, also slipped. Tournament host Ochoa shot 69 tofinish six back and Ai Miyazato, No. 2 on the money list behind Shin, was 10back after a 72.

Ochoa and Shin will battle next week for the player of the year award at theseason-ending LPGA Tour Championship in Houston. Nancy Lopez is the only playerto win both the rookie and player awards in the same season, accomplishing thefeat in 1978.

The LPGA, battered by economic problems and the forced resignation of itscommissioner this summer, needed this as much as Wie.

“Literally, when Michelle Wie is atop the leaderboard it’s like night andday and that’s star power,” LPGA spokesman David Higdon said the day beforeWie’s win.

Wie played PGA Tour events when she was 14—the biggest stage there is. Shewas criticized at the time for not focusing on women’s events. She turned pro in2005 before even finishing high school.

She ignored the criticism and, at 16, she was poised to become the firstwoman to qualify for the men’s U.S. Open before her putter failed her. Shortlyafter that she began to lose confidence and went into a long, painful slump thatwas made worse by a wrist injury that ruined her 2007 season.

She has slowly worked her way back, earning her LPGA card for this season,gaining credibility with players and emerging as a star at this year’s SolheimCup, going undefeated in four matches.

“It just taught me so much about handling that situation,” Wie said. “Andactually, I wore my Solheim shoes today. So I felt pretty lucky.”

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.