Tearful Wie Hopes for Return

By Associated PressJanuary 14, 2005, 5:00 pm
04 Sony OpenHONOLULU -- HONOLULU -- Her cheeks were stained with dried tears. A box of tissue was at her feet if she needed them.
Only after her week at the Sony Open was over did 15-year-old Michelle Wie finally act her age.
'I'm just going to go for some retail therapy,' she said.
She might have better luck in the mall. The kid couldn't buy a putt at Waialae Country Club.
The result was a 4-over 74 in the second round on Friday, with a three-putt from 8 feet for triple bogey on her sixth hole that shattered her hopes of becoming the first female in 60 years to make the cut on the PGA Tour.
Wie ended on a positive note with a 10-foot birdie putt, walking off the 18th green with a rare smile.
All that got her was a tie for 128th, better than 14 men and the same score as Paul Casey, who four months ago was playing for Europe in the Ryder Cup.
She finished at 9-over 149, seven shots below the cut line and 17 shots behind Shigeki Maruyama, who had a one-shot lead over Justin Rose and Brett Quigley going into a weekend at Waialae without its biggest star.
'I think I just tried too hard,' Wie said.
The expectations were higher, especially after the she shot 68 in the second round last year with birdies on two of the last three holes to miss the cut by one shot. It was the best score by a female competing on a men's tour.
'Missing the cut by one last year, I kind of took it for granted that I was going to play better,' Wie said. 'Last year, everything went too easily.'
But she faced tougher odds this time around, mainly the strong Kona wind that came out of the opposite direction and made it difficult to find fairways.
Wie's problems came on the greens. She didn't make the birdie putts when she had them, and by the end of the round, the par putts became tougher. And the triple bogey crushed her spirit.
'I was like, `Oh, God, this is not what I wanted,' Wie said. 'Missing putt after putt, your shoes kind of get heavier and it gets harder, because your confidence goes down. Then you make a couple of bogeys and I thought, `It's just not my day today.'
Maybe it just wasn't a day for youth.
Four players from the Champions Tour all made the cut, including 53-year-old Dick Mast. He qualified Monday, then tied his career low with a 64 on Friday and was only six shots out of the lead. Craig Stadler (69), Peter Jacobsen (68) and Tom Kite (71) all get to stick around this weekend.
Not so for Wie.
Her hopes came undone when she was even par for the round, needing a 67 to make the cut, and her tee shot found the right rough on the sixth hole, blocked by tall, skinny palms. Wie found an opening and tried to play a low hook around the trees, but the ball never made it back to the short grass.
She left her wedge short, chipped over a hump to 8 feet and took three putts before she was done.
And then she was done.
'I thought, `OK, make six birdies instead of three.' I really tried out there,' she said.
Maruyama made it look easy, jumping into contention by playing a three-hole stretch around the turn in 4 under par -- an 8-iron to 3 feet on the eighth, holing the bunker shot for eagle on the par-5 ninth, and making a 20-foot birdie on the 10th. He held it together the rest of the way and was at 8-under 132.
'I was worried about my game, first tournament of the year,' he said. 'I'm not nervous now.'
Quigley (67) was tied for the lead until missing the green on No. 16 for a bogey. Rose holed out from a bunker on the brutal first hole for birdie, but gave that shot away by missing the par-5 ninth with a 7-iron and settling for par. Still, the 24-year-old Englishman will be in the last group Saturday.
And the tournament still has some familiar faces.
Past champions Paul Azinger and Jeff Sluman, each with 68, were in the large group at 5-under 135 that included Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman (68) and Stewart Cink (69).
Other familiar faces included Vijay Singh, the No. 1 player who salvaged a suspect round with a 30-foot eagle putt on his last hole for a 68, putting him five shots off the lead. Two-time defending champion Ernie Els hit the ball close all day and had to settle for a 67, leaving him another shot behind.
'That could have been a 60, I promise you,' Els said.
The focus now shifts to Maruyama and those chasing him. Wie planned to return Saturday for a television interview, then it's back to school -- but not for long.
She will return to the professional ranks next month on the LPGA Tour for the SBS Open across the island at Turtle Bay, then play twice more on the LPGA before spring break.
As for next year?
'I want another chance because I know I can do better than this,' Wie said.
Els believes Wie should get another sponsor's exemption to the Sony Open.
'That is not throwing an invite away,' he said. 'It's phenomenal what she is doing for the game.'
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  • 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 GolfChannel.com 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.