Wie Proves She Belongs with Finish

By Associated PressJune 12, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 McDonaldHARVE DE GRACE, Md. -- Michelle Wie was rolling her eyes and slapping her thigh in disgust early in the final round of the LPGA Championship.
By the end of the round Sunday, the 15-year-old from Hawaii was accepting back-slaps of congratulations for her career-best runner-up finish in the LPGA Tour major.
As challenger after challenger failed to make a run at steady-playing Annika Sorenstam in the final round, Wie worked her way up the leaderboard. The first amateur to play in the LPGA Championship closed with a 3-under 69 for an 8-under 280 total -- three off Sorenstam's winning score
``I just felt really good about myself today,'' Wie said. ``I was trying to make a run for her money, but I just wanted to shoot a good score.
``I definitely felt like I had a chance. Although, the last couple holes, I knew it was kind of far to reach.''
Wie was the only player in the field to break par in all four rounds.
``That's why I can't understand people saying that she can't be here,'' said Laura Davies, who tied for third. ``She belongs here.''
Wie is the sixth amateur to finish second in an LPGA major and the first since Jenny Chuasiriporn lost in a playoff to Se Ri Pak in the 1998 U.S. Women's Open. Pat O'Sullivan (1951 Titleholders) and Catherine Lacoste (1967 U.S. Women's Open) are the only amateurs to win majors.
This is just the latest success for Wie.
She won the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links at age 13 and shot a 68 at the Sony Open last year at 14, the lowest score ever by a female competing on the PGA Tour. She finished fourth in the 2004 Kraft Nabisco and tied for second in an LPGA Tour event in January.
Wie opened the championship at Bulle Rock Golf Club with a solid 3-under 69 and followed with consecutive 71s, earning a spot in the next-to-last group for the final round.
And while Sorenstam pulled away, claiming her third straight LPGA Championship and moving to the halfway mark in her quest to win the Grand Slam, Wie made her presence felt.
And she did it in predictable fashion, taking advantage of her length off the tee and playing the par-5s at Bulle Rock in 6 under over four days.
``My energy was so up that my 3-wood went farther than my driver in the last couple of days,'' said Wie, who overcame an upset stomach to surge into contention Thursday.
Wie struggled with her putter throughout the early rounds, missing a number of putts from 15 feet or less. But late in the final round, the pieces started to come together.
She made bogey at the par-5 second when her approach spot spun back off the front of the green. She pitched past the hole and left her par try short. She gave her right leg a hard whack, which might have gotten her started.
She reeled off five straight pars and then birdied the par-5 eighth.
She picked up two more strokes with consecutive birdies at Nos. 10-11. Wie scrambled out of trouble at the 14th, chipping out of deep rough and making the par putt.
She had a long eagle chance at the 493-yard, par-5 15th, and sent a nifty lag putt within tap-in distance. She closed out the round with four straight pars for the best showing of her career.
``I felt real good about my putting on the last nine holes,'' she said.
As an amateur who just finished her sophomore year in high school and recently got her driver's permit, Wie wasn't eligible for the $164,385 second-place prize. That meant an extra $36,000 each to rookie Paula Creamer and Davies, who tied for third at 6 under and split second- and third-place money instead of the third- and fourth-place cash they would have shared had Wie been a pro.
Despite a 14th-place at the first major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco, some players grumbled about the rule change that allowed Wie to join the 150-player field.
``There's definitely going to be some people who are against me, and I really don't care about it,'' she said.
Wie has already qualified for the U.S. Women's Open in Colorado in two weeks, and received an exemption into the Women's British Open in July.
But first, she'll compete in the U.S. Amateur Public Links qualifier on Tuesday near Pittsburgh.
And later this summer, she play in the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic.
On this week at least, Wie was better than the rest of the field, behind only Sorenstam.
``She belongs here,'' Davies said. ``Anyone who don't believe that has rocks in their head.''
Related Links:
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    Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

    DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

    Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

    One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

    Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.

    Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

    Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

    Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

    He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

    ''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

    ''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

    ''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

    ''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

    Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

    ''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

    ''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

    Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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    Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

    The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

    Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

    Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.

    Notables in the field:

    Tiger Woods

    • Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

    • Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

    • Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.

    Rickie Fowler

    • The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

    • Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

    • On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 

    Rory McIlroy

    • It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

    • McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

    • Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

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    Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

    Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

    ''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

    ''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''

    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand

    Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

    Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

    ''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

    Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

    Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

    ''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

    She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

    Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.