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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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.