Wie Fails to Qualify Still Has Hope

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Michelle Wie is a lot more optimistic about her golf game than her chances of making it to Pinehurst for the U.S. Open.
 
The 15-year-old Wie shot a 4-over 76 in a U.S. Open local qualifier Friday to fail to secure one of four berths in sectional play.
 
However, she still has a chance to play with the men at Pinehurst because she finished in a three-way tie for sixth and was declared the second alternate after tournament officials were unable to have a three-way playoff for the position.
 
A playoff between Wie, Andrew Feldmann and Norman Asao, both of Honolulu, could not be played because neither man was at Turtle Bay Resort after Wie finished. U.S. Golf Association official Stephen Perry said because Wie was the only player left, she received the second alternate spot.
 
Before the qualifier, Wie selected to play the sectional in Maryland. But her chances of getting there are slim.
 
'Hopefully a couple of people will break their legs and I'll get in,' Wie said, giggling.
 
Wie qualified for the U.S. Women's Open at Cherry Hills in Denver in June with her 13th-place finish last year. She tied for 14th in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the women's first major of the year, and has exemptions into the LPGA Championship and Women's British Open.
 
Wie played the front nine in 5 over before rebounding on the final nine on the 7,199-yard Palmer Course.
 
'The first few holes, I didn't know what was going on,' she said. 'I got to get my tournament feel back but I feel like I got stronger. My driver's going a lot farther. I'm happy about that. I'm feeling good about my game.'
 
Her first birdie came at the par-5 12th hole, when she holed a 6-foot putt. But she gave a stroke back at No. 13 after her tee shot landed in a bunker.
 
Her only other birdie came at No. 16. After a booming 320-yard drive, she hit a spinning approach shot over the hole that left her with a 9-footer for birdie.
 
Playing in the last group Friday in the 55-golfer field, Wie routinely outdrove her playing partners by 10 to 20 yards, but struggled with her short game on the same course where she tied for second in the LPGA Tour's SBS Open in February.
 
After opening with a par, Wie had a run of four straight bogeys. She had three-putt bogeys at the second and third holes, and her tee shot at the par-3 fourth hole sailed left into the water. She then missed a short par putt at No. 5.
 
'I made a lot of stupid bogeys out there,' she said.
 
Wie missed a 2-foot par putt on the 574-yard, par-5 ninth for a 41 on the front nine.
 
Wie had the only gallery of the day on the oceanside course, but it was her smallest of the year. About two dozen people, half of them media members, followed her in the breezy, balmy conditions.
 
University of Hawaii sophomore Pierre-Henri Soero opened with a double bogey, but bounced back and had the low round at 2-under 70. Regan Lee was second with a 72. Joe Phengsavath of Honolulu and Shizuo Mori of Japan were another stroke back and joined the top finishers in earning spots in 36-hole sectional qualifying. The first alternate is Kevin Hayashi of Hilo, who had a 74.
 
Wie's next appearance on PGA Tour is the John Deere Classic (July 7-10) on a sponsor's exemption.
 
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