Wie in contention for first LPGA victory at SBS

By Associated PressFebruary 13, 2009, 5:00 pm
2006 SBS OpenKAHUKU, Hawaii ' Michelle Wie put herself into contention for her first LPGA victory, shooting a 2-under 70 in difficult conditions Friday in the second round of the season-opening SBS Open.
 
Making her debut as an LPGA card-carrying member, Wie used a three-birdie run to surge to the top of the leaderboard and finish with an 8-under 136, where she was tied with Angela Stanford (71) heading into Saturdays final round.
 
Michelle Wie at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay
Michelle Wie tees off Friday during Round 2 of the SBS Open. (Getty Images)
It feels good, Wie said of being in contention again. She will be in the final group for the first time since the 2006 Evian Ladies Masters, where she tied for second and picked up her biggest tour paycheck of her career.
 
Wie said she couldnt remember the last time she led going into the final day. It was at the 2006 U.S. Womens Open where she was tied with Annika Sorenstam and Brittany Lincicome. Wie finished tied for third, two strokes out of the playoff.
 
She said winning would be great, but wont get ahead of herself. She hasnt hoisted a trophy since claiming the USGA Womens Amateur Public Links Championships at age 13 to become the youngest USGA champion in history.
 
I just dont want to get that engrained in my head just yet, she said. I feel like everyone has been asking me that, and theres still a day left. I just want to do the same thing and play as hard as I can.
 
Obviously it would mean a lot, so Im just going to try and have fun out there, she said.
 
The 19-year-old LPGA rookie is seeking her first title in her 49th start on tour. Shes also looking to put her past struggles behind her.
 
Im starting with a clean slate, she said. I earned my way here. Im a rookie. And Ive been through a lot, so Im just going to start fresh, start new and just have a great year.
 
Stanford, the first-round leader, began the day at 7 under and quickly caught Wie for the lead by birdieing the par-5 third hole before running off 15 straight pars for her second bogey-free round.
 
Stanford, of Saginaw, Texas, is coming off a career-best season where she won two events, broke $1 million for the first time and finished ninth on the money list.
 
Brazilian-born Angela Park had the best round of the day with a 68 and was at 7 under, two strokes ahead of Japans Momoko Ueda (71).
 
My thought process is exactly the same as it was the first two days ' win, second or third doesnt matter as long as I go out and put my best foot forward, said Park, the 2007 rookie of the year.
 
Rookies Stacy Lewis (70), the Q-School medalist, and 18-year-old Vicky Hurst (71) were at 3 under, with 2008 rookie of the year and second-ranked Yani Tseng (75), who opened her round with a double bogey.
 
There were consistent winds of 25 to 30 mph at Turtle Bay that bent the flagsticks and had players switching clubs and fans holding their caps.
 
It was pretty tough. I thought the wind was blowing pretty hard yesterday and today I was almost blown off my feet, Wie said. I just tried to play patiently and tried to not to be too greedy.
 
After starting on No. 10 and playing her first nine holes in even par with a birdie and three-putt bogey, Wie moved on to the more exposed side of the Palmer Course.
 
She chipped in from about 35 feet on No. 2 and drew a roar from the hometown gallery, which included a woman who wore a T-shirt that read, Wie Believe. The chip sparked the three-birdie run.
 
All day I was hitting such good shots and such good putts and didnt really get in the hole, and finally it kind of burst the door open, so it felt really refreshing, Wie said.
 
Wie caught a break on that hole when her drive sailed left, over the rope, bounced and hit a woman, preventing the ball from traveling at least 10 more yards. Wie recovered with a 5-wood shot out of the rough onto the fringe, setting up the chip.
 
On the next hole, Wie hit an aggressive wedge that left her with a 9-foot birdie putt for the outright lead at 8 under. She followed that by dropping a 30-footer for birdie on the par-3 fourth to reach 9 under and a two-stroke cushion.
 
While Wie seemed to make all her long putts, Wie couldnt seem to handle the short ones late in the round.
 
She slapped her hip after missing a 3-footer for birdie on the seventh hole that wouldve given her a three-shot cushion. She three-putted for bogey on the next hole, lipping a 3 1/2 -foot par putt.
 
Its hard putting in the wind, she said. When the balls shaking, you cant really ground your club.
 
The Stanford sophomore, who has struggled the past two years with wrist injuries that forced her to miss cut after cut and shattered her confidence, earned her tour card in December with a seventh-place tie at Q-School.
 
Wie is now healthy, confident and trying to show that she not only belongs on tour, but has the ability to win.
 
Shes always played well at Turtle Bay, located on Oahus North Shore about an hour-drive from where she grew up. Wie played the first SBS in 2005 as a 15-year-old amateur and tied for second, two strokes behind winner Jennifer Rosales. Wie was the lone amateur in the field and the only player to shoot under par for three rounds.
 
It also was at Turtle Bay in 2006 that she became the first female player to win a local qualifying tournament for the U.S. Open.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.