Wie Five Back After Opening Round in Japan


Japanese TourKOCHI, Japan -- Michelle Wie shot a 1-over-par 73 Thursday, trailing Toshimitsu Izawa and Yoshiaki Kimura by five strokes after the first round of the Casio World Open.
Wie, only the second woman to play in a Japanese men's event, teed off from the 10th hole at the par-72 Kochi Kuroshio Country Club and bogeyed the par-4 16th hole when she three-putted.
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie opened with a 1-over 73 and stands five back of the lead.
She bogeyed Nos. 2 and 3 before recovering with back-to-back birdies on the sixth and seventh holes.
'Coming back like that will give me confidence for tomorrow,' Wie said. 'It's good to know I can do that even when I'm not playing that well.'
Wie's first birdie of the day came when she hit a sand wedge from 100 yards that landed 4 feet from the hole on the par-4 sixth hole.
On the par-5 No. 7, she drove into the rough, but blasted out with a 5-wood and then hit a sand wedge to 4 feet from the hole before making the birdie putt.
'I wanted to be a little higher,' Wie said. 'But considering how I struggled in the middle I'm pretty happy with the round I had. Hopefully, I can come back tomorrow and play a better round.'
Wie is making her sixth start in a men's professional tournament. She has failed to make the cut in three PGA Tour starts, a Nationwide Tour event and a Canadian Tour event.
Huge crowds followed the 16-year-old American. By contrast, defending champion David Smail had only a handful of fans following him.
The $1.17 million tournament, the next-to-last event on the Japanese men's tour, is Wie's first since she was disqualified last month in her pro debut.
'I felt a little nervous off the tee,' Wie said. 'But being nervous like that can be a good thing.'
Sophie Gustafson missed the cut in the 2003 Casio tournament, the only other time a female player has appeared in a top Japanese men's tour event.
Because of a backlog of players, Wie had to wait 40 minutes after her first nine holes.
'I never had to do that before,' Wie said. 'I missed a couple of 4- or 5-foot putts that I should have made.'
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