Big Wiesys Coronation Turns into Giant Collapse

By Sports NetworkJune 26, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Fans came in droves to watch 15-year-old Michelle Wie's march to history at the U.S. Women's Open on Sunday, but instead of seeing a coronation, they witnessed a collapse.
 
Wie, who began the final round in a three-way tie for the lead here, was seeking to become golf's youngest major winner in either a men's or women's event.

But she double-bogeyed the first hole after hitting five bad shots in a row and never was a factor thereafter as she shot a miserable 82 - the day's second-worst round - to plunge all the way down to a tie for 23rd, a distant nine strokes behind winner Birdie Kim.
 
Coincidentally, Wie was paired with Kim and offered encouragement to the winner down the stretch, wishing only that the roles had been reversed.
 
Wie did not seem devastated by the result and claimed she wasn't nervous, but her meltdown will only offer fuel to the critics claiming she has been misguided by pretty much ignoring amateur golf and playing instead in as many professional tournaments as possible.
 
'Difficult would be too easy a word,' she said of her round. 'It was really hard out there for me. I have to get a GPS for my ball, put a magnet in it or something, because that thing was not going towards the hole.
 
'I knew a couple over was going to win and even though I made double on the first hole, I knew if I got back on track (I was still in with a chance). It didn't work out.'
 
Although Wie hit her share of bad shots, it was putting that emerged her biggest problem. She took 34 putts in all, missing a couple of near tap-ins that completely sapped her confidence.
 
Her first birdie didn't come until the par-5 11th, but she was out of contention by then.
 
'I felt if I died right there, I'd die happy' she said.
 
Wie has just one week off before playing her first mainland PGA Tour event at the John Deere Classic, where she says her goal is to make the cut - something she didn't manage in her two previous tour starts at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
 
Wie finished on the same score as Annika Sorenstam, whose quest to win the Grand Slam ended with a whimper. She started the day five shots off the pace and, as it turned out, needed to shoot 3-under to tie Kim.
 
After playing conservatively for the first three rounds, eschewing her driver for the most part, she was far more aggressive on Sunday but only got herself into more trouble.
 
She used driver at the par-4 first, and when her ball hit a tree and ricocheted into a creek, she must have suspected it wasn't going to be her day.
 
'My game plan was to be a little more aggressive and it totally backfired,' she admitted. 'To win a championship like this, you need some good momentum. I thought plus-4 would be a winning score. I knew what I had to do. I wasn't really worrying about anybody else.
 
'I am going to leave here knowing in my heart that I gave it my all. It just did not happen. It makes me appreciate that I have won (the year's first two majors).'
 
Lorena Ochoa also left disappointed. She made a great charge and got to 3-over with one hole left. Playing way ahead of the overnight leaders, she knew a par at the last would give her a great chance of winning, but her drive was horrible.
 
She hit a fat 3-wood, taking a huge divot and watching in dismay as her ball hooked into the water, and her chances over. The quadruple bogey that followed was academic.
 
'I worked so hard for 71 holes and just gave the tournament away,' lamented Ochoa, who tied for sixth. 'I feel really sad. This is the way golf is.'
 
Related Links:
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    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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