Wie Makes History at US Open Qualifying

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 15, 2006, 4:00 pm
USGAKAHUKU, Hawaii -- Michelle Wie has been competing against men since she was 12, and still feels slightly uneasy about it.
But Wie looked totally comfortable Monday when she moved a step closer in her long-shot bid to become the first female player to qualify for the U.S. Open, shooting an even-par 72 to win a local qualifier.
Playing with the men, Im not sure whats going to happen. It puts me in an almost uncomfortable place, she said. Thats what makes me a better player.
The USGA believes she is the first woman to get through local qualifying for the U.S. Open. Wie and two other players advanced to sectional play next month, with Wie saying she will play in the June 5 36-hole sectional at Canoe Brook in Summit, N.J.
The possibility of playing at Winged Foot? Its the U.S. Open, the name speaks for itself, Wie said. Its one of a kind.
After the sectional, Wie will play in the McDonalds LPGA Championship in Havre de Grace, Md.
Playing on her home island of Oahu in front of about two dozen people, Wie was steady for most of her round on the breezy, oceanside Palmer Course at Turtle Bay Resort, but missed a couple of short putts. She had four birdies and four bogeys.
Joe Phengsavath of Honolulu was second with a 1-over 73. Fifteen-year-old Tadd Fujikawa, a high school freshman from Honolulu, holed a 60-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole to earn the third spot.
Wie opened with a birdie, sinking a 15-foot putt, but three-putted the 543-yard third to give back a stroke. She then birdied Nos. 7, 9 and 14, but followed each of them up with a bogey.
I made the birdies where I should have, she said. I made a lot of stupid mistakes, though.
Wie made the turn at 1-under 35 after holing a 20-foot, slightly downhill putt that hung on the lip and dropped. Her father jumped, shot his fist in the air and screamed, Yes! Whoo! as the small gallery cheered.
On par-4 14th, Wie drove 290 yards, easily clearing the right-side marsh and then stuck her approach shot for a tap-in birdie. On the next hole, she hit a line drive off the tee into the short bunker. She blasted out of the sand to 3-feet, but missed for bogey.
She saved par on par-4 No. 17 with a spectacular second shot out of the woods, using a 9-iron.
It was tricky because the hill was pretty high and the tree was pretty low, Wie said. Its not like I can bounce it up the hill because theres roots everywhere.
She then stuck her approach 5-feet from the cup.
I really grinded when I needed to, Wie said.
Wie has had previous success at Turtle Bay. She finished second in the LPGA Tours SBS Open last year. She failed to advance with a 4-over 76 in the U.S. Open qualifier last year.
Wie said her play was a present to her mother, Bo, who celebrated her birthday Monday.
But it was the 16-year-old star who was receiving gifts. Wie received another exemption to the U.S. Womens Open on Monday and also accepted her first exemption to a European tour mens event, the Omega European Masters Sept. 7-10 in Switzerland.
The European invitation gives Wie a global schedule of 14 tournaments against men and women.
Me and my dad were kind of joking that were basically playing on all tours this year, she said. I played the Japan Tour, Korean Tour, LPGA Tour, PGA TOUR, Asian Tour and now the European Tour. I think its awesome. Its always what I wanted to do.
She also said playing in both the mens and womens U.S. Open would be remarkable.
USGA womens tournament chairman Marcia Luigs said the exemptions are given to players who would be eligible to play in a tournament if not for some external reason.
If she had been on the LPGA Tour, she would have been exempt, Luigs said. Even though she is a professional and has won enough money to have an exemption, its not on the LPGA money list.
Although Wie is not an LPGA Tour member, she would have ranked 12th on the official money list last year and would be within the top 35 in 2006 -- and eligible for the tournament at the Newport Country Club'after just two events this year.
But its the men she enjoys playing against because it motivates her to work out and prepare for the longer courses.
Playing with the men, I get to learn so much more and when I do actually make the cut and do well, it feels really good, she said.
Wie has competed eight times against the men on five tours, making the cut for the first time May 5 in the SK Telecom Open in South Korea.
She wasnt the only female in the field of 40 on Monday, however. Fifteen-year-old Carmen Bandea of Atlanta shot an 80.
For Wie, its back to Punahou School where she closes out her memorable junior year, where she turned pro, finished third in the Fields Open and tied for third in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, both times missing a playoff by one shot.
Now Im going to back to school. Im back down to earth, she said.
Related Links:
  • Michelle Wie's Scorecard
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Open
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.