Michelle Wie is playing the U.S. Womens Open at the moment, and although she is just 16 years of age, she opened round 1 Friday with a solid score of 1-under 70. She is the golfer without a tour, playing wherever, whenever she is invited. And she is invited a lot.
She has dreamed of playing well enough to be a member of the PGA TOUR, and at the same time she dreams of playing the LPGA. I dont like being stuck in one place. I love moving around and playing different areas, playing different countries, playing the European Tour, playing in Asia I have the opportunity to do so, so I might as well do it.
Thursday she played a U.S. Open the way an Open course should be played, carefully plodding her way around Newport Country Club, making only one bogey and off-setting that with a couple of birdies ' the last on her final hole when she sunk a 15-foot putt.
Thats what the U.S. Open is ' you have to have pars when youre in trouble, get away with just a bogey or a par, she said. And I felt like I did that today I know that it is going to get better and better.
The par that made Wie the most proud occurred on the third hole, where she had to lay up short after driving in the rough. Michelle hit a wedge a little too strong, the ball sailing just over the green, but sank a nice 15-foot putt to get away with a gift.
I think it was a very good par because that putt was hard, she said. It was downhill, very fast. Im very proud of that par.
Actually, her drive landed in a wet area where the grain of grass was growing sideways. She popped a 5-iron, but you just cant hit a 5-iron that high out of the rough, she said. I think I made a smart move to lay up, because it was only the first round.
Her travails with the putter have been well-chronicled, particularly in the recent mens U.S. Open qualifier which she missed because she didnt make enough putts. Friday, she was much more solid with the roller.
I feel like every putt I make, every putt I miss, every putt that goes around the toilet bowl and every putt I don't make, it (brings me) one step closer to being a better putter, Wie said philosophically.
And I think that I'm a great putter. I think it's just that everyone is looking at every single putt that I make. And I'm not going to make every single putt, and I'm never going to be really happy with how I putt. But I think that every putt that I hit, miss or make, is just going to make me a better putter.
Wie obviously is familiar with the old saying by now ' You cant win a tournament in the first round, but you certainly can lose it. And her play in the opening round has her solidly in contention.
She realizes, though, that it really only matters where you finish Sunday evening. She isnt thinking about the unthinkable yet ' a possible win ' but it is definitely in the far reaches of her mind.
Well, definitely its one of my goals, one of my dreams, to win a major. When youre out here, you just cant put too much pressure on myself ' Oh, my gosh, its my biggest dream to win this tournament, Wie said.
That puts too much pressure on yourself. So when Im out here, Im just playing golf.
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