Wie Finishes Hawaiian Mens Event Under Par

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AIEA, Hawaii -- Michelle Wie keeps playing better at the Hawaii Pearl Open. Wie closed with a 72 in the final round on Sunday to finish at 2-under 214. Playing in her second men's tournament of the year, Wie was the only female in the field of 192, and the youngest overall for the third straight year.
 
Last year, Wie finished with an 8-over 224 and tied for 43rd. In 2002, she missed the cut by three strokes in her first tournament against men.
 
'I improved from last year,' Wie said. 'I hope I can just reach another level next year.'
 
She's certainly has proved she belongs.
 
Two years ago at the tournament, Wie played against the men with little fanfare. This year, as a seasoned 14-year-old, she was mobbed by autograph seekers and played in front of the tournament's only gallery.
 
I guess it's a little different because all the guys, they know I was going to play out here,' she said. 'When I was 12, they didn't really know. It was like, 'What are you doing out here?''
 
'I don't really remember when I was 12. A lot has happened since then.'
 
The ninth-grader from Honolulu began the day at 2-under 142, tied for 35th along with five others at the $80,000 event, one of the top men's golf tournaments in the state.
 
The field included 62 U.S. pros and 70 pros from the Japanese tour. Two-time champion Kiyoshi Murota, 10th last year on the Japanese tour money list, was the early leader.
 
'My goal this tournament was to win it, but after the first day, I didn't really have that much of a chance so I just went for top 10 or low amateur,' Wie said.
 
She dazzled the crowd Sunday with her booming drives, but struggled with her short game. Her roller-coaster round included four birdies and four bogeys.
 
Conditions at the 6,787-yard Pearl Country Club were calm and balmy.
 
Her first shot of the day was a 320-yard drive on the 559-yard No. 1 that helped set up her 8-foot birdie putt, which she holed. She just missed a 15-foot eagle putt and ended with another birdie on the par-4 fifth.
 
Like her birdies, her bogeys were scattered throughout the round. She bogeyed the uphill 194-yard No. 13 three days in a row.
 
Wie said she needs to concentrate on her accuracy and short game.
 
'This week my short game was a little shaky,' she said. 'I think if I get those two things more consistent, I'll be able to play better.'
 
The Hawaii Pearl Open is the second tournament of the year for Wie. Last month, she became the youngest player on the PGA Tour at the Sony Open, where she shot 68 in the second round and missed the cut by one shot.
 
Her performance led to invitations to play in seven other PGA Tour events. Wie said she's still undecided whether she'll accept any of them.
 
'I don't think we're playing in them,' she said. 'I'm not sure.'
 
Wie played seven times on the LPGA Tour last year, missing the cut just once. She missed the cut on the men's Canadian and Nationwide tours, and her only victory in any event came at the Women's Public Links, where she became the youngest winner of a USGA event for adults.
 
She will return to competing against the women next month at the Safeway International, one of the strongest fields on the LPGA Tour, followed by the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first LPGA major of the year.
 
Wie said she's looking forward to the change.
 
'The courses are shorter, obviously, but the rough is slightly less long,' she said. 'But it's both the same. A tournament is a tournament. It doesn't matter who you play against. You're playing against the course.'
 
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