Michelle Wie couldn’t have picked a better place to follow up her best finish in a major championship.
Wie returns to her Hawaii home this week for the Lotte Championship after finishing second to Lexi Thompson at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in the LPGA’s last event.
“I love coming back home,” Wie said in a pre-tournament news conference. “I get so excited the night before, I can't sleep, and that flight from L.A. can't be longer. It's just such a long flight, the longest five hours of my life, but when I finally land, that feeling that I get is: ‘I'm home.’”
With the support of her hometown fans, Wie, 24, will be looking to build on the momentum she’s creating in this bounce-back season. She grew up playing Ko Olina Golf Club, home to the Lotte Championship, just outside Honolulu. She tied for 28th there last year and missed the cut there the year before.
“I think the last couple years, I've just put so much pressure on myself to play well,” Wie said. “Obviously, playing in my hometown, home course, I feel the support from a lot of people. I want to win. I want to play really well here. This year I'm just going to put no pressure on myself, I'm just going to go out there and try and enjoy myself and have a lot of fun.”
The Lotte Championship begins Wednesday with a prime-time broadcast. The 72-hole event can be seen on Golf Channel with each round being televised from 6:30-10:30 p.m. ET. Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park is a headliner in the field along with No. 4 Lydia Ko and No. 9 Paula Creamer.
In six LPGA starts this year, Wie has three top-10 finishes. She leads the tour in scoring (69.75) and also ranks first in greens in regulation (81 percent) and rounds under par (21).
Wie has never won a professional event in Hawaii. While she hasn’t been satisfied with her last two starts there, she has a good overall record at home. She has made seven starts in LPGA events in Hawaii with two second-place finishes and one third-place finish. She also had that 68 in the second round of the ’04 Sony Open when she was 14, the lowest score a woman has ever posted in a PGA Tour event.
Wie said she’s feeling good about her game coming off the second-place finish at Kraft.
“I gained a lot of confidence from that, and definitely I'll use that in upcoming events,” she said.