Wie earns tour card Lewis medalist at Q-School

By Associated PressDecember 7, 2008, 5:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ' Having played 90 holes over five days in pursuit of LPGA membership, the final act for Michelle Wie was to sign her scorecard. Walking to the tent, one fan held up a sign that played off the marathon political season.
 
Yes Wie Can.
 
Yes, she did, even if the road was filled with one surprise after another.
 

Wie Watch ' LPGA Q-School

Final round
 
Score: 74 (12-under 348, tied for seventh place and six strokes behind medalist Stacy Lewis)
 
Behind the scorecard: Nightmare bogey-bogey-bogey start was more a byproduct of the cold, windy conditions, and a punchy swing that David Leadbetter said had gotten quick in the wind, than nerves. Wie managed to slow her swing and closed her front nine with six pars. She picked up her first birdie of the day at the 10th, a sweeping 8-footer, and easily secured her tour card with a steady par-par-birdie-par finish.
 
Quotable: She was talking about her (injured left) wrist this week and said, Its tingling a little bit. Im not nervous but my wrist is, Leadbetter said.
 
Sights and sounds: In her post-round interview, her first of the week, Wie said she planned to attend the winter quarter at Stanford. That is, she added, if she makes it out of her fall quarter. Wie planned to fly from one taxing exam, Q-School finals, to another, her final exam in sociology on Wednesday. The winter quarter ends in March, which would give Wie plenty of time to prepare for the years first major in April. Wie also said she has nearly settled on a major ' East Asian Studies. Im 89.5 percent sure, she said.
 
' Rex Hoggard


I took the long way to get here, Wie said after a 2-over 74 on Sunday, putting her in a tie for seventh among the 20 players who earned their LPGA cards. But I feel really good about it.
 
The 19-year-old from Hawaii looked to be on the fast track when she qualified for her first LPGA event at age 12. Wie played in the final group of a major at 13, shot 68 on the PGA Tour at the Sony Open a year later, had a share of the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Womens Open at 15 and shared the lead on the back nine of three straight majors soon after getting a drivers license.
 
Equally amazing was her downfall.
 
First came the wrist injuries in 2007, and shattered confidence as she tried to play hurt and couldnt break par. That led to Q-School, where the cant miss teen could not afford to fail.
 
Despite starting with three straight bogeys and failing to hit a green in regulation until the sixth hole, Wie steadied herself at LPGA International and made it comfortably.
 
This is a good test, swing coach David Leadbetter said. Theres a lot of jingled nerves, and she has performed nicely.
 
For someone who had been taking handouts longer for one-third of her life ' 53 exemptions or invitations out of 62 events ' Wie felt earning her card was among her greatest achievements.
 
Finally, she can tee it up on the LPGA and feel as though she belongs.
 
I really earned it, Wie said. I legitimately went through Q-school ' went through the first stage, went through the second stage ' and I really got it. Its like high school graduation.
 
The valedictorian was former NCAA champion Stacy Lewis, who had to go through Q-school because the LPGA does not count earnings from the U.S. Womens Open, where she tied for third in her pro debut. Lewis birdied her last two holes for a 69, giving her a three-shot victory over Amy Yang.
 
I had the door shut on me a couple of times, but they cant do it anymore, Lewis said.
 
Lewis finished at 18-under 342.
 
Wie said she will return to Stanford for the winter quarter, but plans a full LPGA schedule next year. Without being a member, she was limited to six LPGA events, plus the U.S. Womens Open and Womens British Open.
 
I play whenever I want now, not when I have to play, or only six tournaments, she said. Im going to take advantage of this card.
 
But she hasnt ruled out playing against the men.
 
Wie has not made the cut in eight tries on the PGA Tour, where she twice shot 68 in the Sony Open to set the record for lowest score by a female competing against the men. She has played six other mens events, making only one cut in South Korea.
 
I still want to purse that, she said. Im the kind of person where if I start out and want to pursue it, Im going to do it. Ive always wanted to do it since I started golf.
 
Next up is two days of LPGA orientation, a final at Stanford on Wednesday, then home to Honolulu for the holidays where she plans to be a beach bum for seven days.
 
All that mattered on Sunday, where the 15 mph wind and temperatures in the 50s made for a chilly start, was finishing in the top 20. Wie figured she was in good shape after settling down with a diet of fairways-and greens, but she still felt anxious walking toward the 18th green and looking at the lone leaderboard on the Champions course at LPGA International.
 
I was like, I just need to see three letters on that leaderboard, she said.
 
The name Wie was toward the bottom, hidden by a gallery never before seen at LPGA Q-School.
 
As much as Wie needed her membership card, the LPGA desperately needs a player like Wie, especially with Annika Sorenstam stepping away from competition. The gallery was close to 500 people, enough to surround the 18th green when Wie knocked in a 4-foot par putt to complete her most important test in golf.
 
It seems so long ago when Tom Lehman nicknamed her the Big Wiesy because her swing reminded him of Ernie Els; when she was atop the leaderboard of three straight LPGA majors at age 16 without winning; when she reached the quarterfinals of the mens U.S. Amateur Public Links as a 15-year-old during an unfathomable quest of qualifying for the Masters.
 
With an LPGA card in hand, Wie is all about the future.
 
You will never be who you were when you were 14 or 15, she said. You move forward. Im a completely different person now.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard
  • Full Coverage - LPGA Q-School
  • Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

    He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

    Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

    Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

    Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

    Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

    "I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

    The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

    Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

    "I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

    McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

    When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

    Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

    Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

    While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

    Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

    Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

    Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

    Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    "I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

    But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.


    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


    With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

    Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

    The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

    "I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."