Wie Leads Amateur Contingent at Open

By Associated PressJune 24, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- She might be brazen. Or maybe just too darn young to know any better. Either way, 15-year-old Michelle Wie thinks she's ready to win the U.S. Open.
``If I never think I'm ready, then I can never win,'' Wie said. ``Always think positively.''
She had every reason to after a round of 2-over-par 73 on Friday that left her at even after two rounds, in second place, two strokes behind leader Nicole Perrot.

Wie wasn't alone among amateurs whose games were holding up under pressure.
Morgan Pressel, the 17-year-old who beat Wie at the U.S. Girls Junior Championship two years ago, also shot 73 to finish the day four strokes out of the lead.
``Four shots off with two days left?'' Pressel said. ``That's not bad. I could be higher, but I'll deal with it.''
First-round co-leader Brittany Lang shot 6 over to fall six strokes behind. Also in the hunt at 3 over was Amie Cochran, a 19-year-old who finished third at NCAA Championships earlier this year for UCLA.
Leading them all was Wie, who said she endured the kind of round in which she ``could have shot some ridiculous numbers today, but I kept my head.''
She opened the day hitting driver on No. 10 and wound up with a bogey. After hitting driver on No. 11, she didn't touch the club again -- save the fifth hole, when she put her hand on it on the tee box but thought wiser and hit an iron.
``It's very tempting,'' Wie said. ``You know, hit a heroic shot, it feels good, stuff like that. But, you know, you just have to play smart. I think that's what I did.''
Spoken like a true veteran.
She also salvaged some very difficult pars at points where the round could have gotten away from her. On No. 14, she saved par with a 5-footer. On No. 15, a par-3, she got up and down with a chip and an 8-foot par putt she celebrated with a mini fist pump.
In all, it was a controlled, mature effort from a player who isn't ashamed of trying to make history.
Next month, she'll compete in the men's U.S. Amateur Public Links tournament, the winner of which traditionally gets an automatic entry into the Masters. She has played on the PGA Tour twice with another appearance set for next month's John Deere Classic. She has been criticized by some, including Nancy Lopez, who said Wie should focus on trying to take down Annika Sorenstam before she focuses on the men.
Earlier this week, Wie deflected that criticism, saying ``I still have a lot to learn and I am learning a lot from Annika.''
And for the first two days of the Open, she was not only keeping up with Sorenstam, but ahead of her by four strokes after Sorenstam's second round of 75.
Not so for Lang, who was tied for the lead at 2 under after the first round and made birdie on her second hole to briefly hold the lead by herself, but finished the day at 4 over.
``I'm disappointed, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it,'' she said.
The Atlantic Coast Conference champion and a member of Duke's national-championship team, Lang could have turned pro after she graduated earlier this year, but decided to hang onto her amateur status until later this summer.
Days like Friday served to confirm that her choice was right.
``I just need more experience and that's what I'm getting this summer,'' Lang said.
Pressel, meanwhile, was her normal spunky self -- yelling at the ball when it didn't do what she wanted during her round of 1-over 73. She was in a much better frame of mind than Thursday, when she left the course crying after playing the last two holes in 3 over.
``I made some bogeys out there, but that's going to happen,'' Pressel said. ``It's the Women's Open.''
Wie said she understands the magnitude of the tournament, but she's trying to have fun while she's here.
She said she and the girl carrying the scoring standard in her group, who is about her age, whiled away the time during Thursday's rain delay conjuring up a new club.
``We called it Club Delay,'' Wie said.
Part of being in Club Delay meant they both had to wake up at 4:15 a.m. to be at the course in time for the final three holes of the first round.
It's not the way most 15-year-olds like to start their day. Luckily for Wie, she has the last tee time on Saturday.
``Let's put it this way: My school starts at 8:30, I wake up at 7:10 or 7:15, so this was kind of early,'' Wie said. ``I am a very big sleeper.''
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Women's Open
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Open
    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.