Wie Has Rock Star Appeal


BRIMLEY, Mich. (AP) -- Michelle Wie has rock star charisma and drawing power. Even without her entourage, it would be difficult not to notice the tall, slender 13-year-old.
Especially when she's driving a golf ball over 300 yards.
Word of Wie's exploits has been spreading all summer. So, when she accepted a sponsor's exemption to compete against men in a Canadian Tour event, golf fans from around the Midwest and Canada were drawn to this tiny Upper Peninsula town.
Wie did not disappoint.
Playing the championship tees at 7,101 yards, Wie shot 74-79 in the first two rounds of the Bay Mills Open Players Championship at Wild Bluff Golf Club. She missed the cut at 9-over 153, but was in good company.
Annika Sorenstam and Suzy Whaley also failed to make the cut in their PGA Tour attempts earlier this season.
'I have to accept that some days you play really well and some days, even if you do play well, you just don't get rewarded,' Wie said before heading home to Honolulu for the first time since May 30.
What a summer it has been.
Wie became the youngest player to win any adult USGA event at the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links. She also played in the final group of the LPGA Tour's Nabisco Championship.
There were some tough times along the way, too. Wie lost in the first round of the U.S. Women's Amateur and had an unpleasant run-in with Danielle Ammaccapane over a breach of etiquette during the U.S. Women's Open.
The weekend before traveling to Michigan, Wie had trouble keeping her drives in the fairways and missed the cut at the LPGA Jamie Farr Kroger Classic with rounds of 73-72.
But the summer has also been a grind, and Wie, who turns 14 in October, admits she's worn out.
Gary Gilchrist, Wie's swing coach, has been trying to get teenager on a weight and exercise program for about a year. With typical teen disdain, she nixed the idea. Until now.
'I'm going to buy an exercise bike and use it at home because I think I get tired a bit,' said Wie, who still has to wear her dental retainer for five more years. 'I'm going to practice my short game and work hard.'
Wie was paired with amateurs Mike Mezei of Lethbridge, Alberta, and Michigan Amateur champion Colby Beckstrom this week.
Even using a driver with 7.5-degrees of loft and an extra-stiff shaft and with a clubhead speed measured at 148 mph, Wie was consistently outdriven by her playing partners.
The real difference, however, came in hitting out of trouble.
'The guys can top the ball and still get out of the rough,' Wie said. 'I don't have enough clubhead speed to get it out and high. But my playing partners would hit it high and have it land soft on the green.
'I think its important to be physically stronger. I learned a lot this week.'
Wie beat Mezei by one stroke, while Beckstrom finish five strokes better. All three missed the cut.
The guys came away impressed.
'She's a fantastic player,' Mezei said. 'Her short game is exceptional. She just missed a few putts. But, give her a few years and she's going to be a super player.
'She's pretty neat to watch.'
Beckstrom said, 'She's incredible.'
Wie gets another chance to beat the boys. She'll return to the mainland in two weeks to compete in a Nationwide Tour event in Boise, Idaho.
In the meantime, she'll begin the ninth grade Monday at Punahou High School.
'I'm not looking forward to taking Chinese,' Wie said. 'I'm not looking forward to taking tests. But I enjoy school.
'I only like school when I do well on tests and get good grades - just like in golf.'
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