Wie to Play in Nationwide Event

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Teenager Michelle Wie has accepted a sponsor's exemption to play in the Boise Open on the Nationwide Tour, becoming the first female to compete on the PGA Tour's developmental circuit.
 
Wie, an eighth-grader in Honolulu who already hits the ball longer than some PGA Tour players, will be the third female this year to go head-to-head with the men.
 
Annika Sorenstam, the No. 1 woman in golf, will become the first woman in 58 years to play on the PGA Tour at this year's Bank of America Colonial.
 
Suzy Whaley, a Connecticut club pro, last year qualified for the Greater Hartford Open by winning a PGA sectional tournament from a shorter set of tees. That tournament is at the end of the July.
 
Wie, 13, already will have experience by the time she gets to the Boise Open.
 
She also has been invited to play in the Canadian Tour's Bay Mills Open Players' Championship on Aug. 21-24 in Brimley, Mich.
 
'She is exploring unlimited possibilities,' said her father, B.J. Wie, a University of Hawaii professor. 'I hope she makes a good impression on the Nationwide Tour players.'
 
Wie already has made an impression on PGA Tour players who have watched her play during the Hawaii swing in January. Tom Lehman first called her the 'Big Wiesy' because her swing reminds him of Ernie Els.
 
In Janaury, a half-dozen players stopped practicing on the range at the Sony Open to watch Wie hit her driver, belting the ball about 285 yards.
 
Wie tried to Monday qualify for the Sony Open and shot 1-over 73 at Pearl Country Club, coming up six strokes short of earning a spot in the field. Still, she tied for 47th, beating more than 40 players -- some of whom play the Nationwide Tour.
 
On the LPGA Tour, Wie shot a 6-under 66 in March at the Kraft Nabisco Championship -- the first major of the year -- to get into the final group Sunday. She finished tied for ninth.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the Albertson's Boise Open
  • More on Michelle Wie
     

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