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Wie's stinger could avoid Birkdale's wind, rough

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Michelle Wie’s low stinger is looking as if it might be an especially valuable weapon in her arsenal of golf shots this week as she seeks to become the first American woman to win back-to-back major championships in 15 years.

Wie, who won the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2 last month, hits as many low-flighted stingers as anyone in the women’s game. She said she expects to hit a lot of them through the winds over Royal Birkdale this week, especially with the length of the rough. Wie tied for third as a 15-year-old amateur when the Women's British Open was played at Royal Birkdale in 2005. She tied for 17th when the championship returned there in 2010.

“The rough is definitely the longest it's ever been the last few times I was here,” Wie told reporters in her pre-championship interview. “I was telling David [Leadbetter] out on the golf course, there were a lot of times that I remember just bombing driver because there wasn't any rough. I think this year, you kind of have to play a little bit shorter.

“Birkdale is really demanding off the tee. I think it's one of the most demanding golf courses off the tee, and you have to put it in play, and once you're in play, then I think it gets a little bit easier. Not that it gets easy; it just gets a little bit easier.

“I definitely think the stinger will help keep it low, keep it on the ground.  It's playing firm, so hopefully it will roll a lot.”

Juli Inkster is the last American to win back-to-back majors in women’s golf. She won the LPGA Championship and U.S. Women’s Open in consecutive major championship starts in 1999.