Michelle Wie claims her first-ever LPGA victory

By Associated PressNovember 15, 2009, 4:08 pm

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Michelle Wie raised both arms in the air, then put a hand over her mouth.

No need to say a thing – this celebration was a decade in the making.

Immediately after tapping in Sunday to win her first LPGA title, Wie pulled the ball from the 18th hole, looked up to the sky, let out a big sigh of relief, bounced up and down and pumped her right fist.

After all the near misses, after all the expectations, her long wait was over.

“It’s definitely off by my back,” Wie said. “I think that hopefully life will be a lot better, but I still have a lot of work to do.”

Wie fulfilled her promise with a 3-under 69 for a two-stroke victory over Paula Creamer in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Wie finished off the victory in style, hitting a greenside bunker shot within a foot on the final hole to set up a birdie.

“Wowwwww …… never thought this would feel THIS great!!!!” she posted on her Twitter account.

Solheim Cup teammates Morgan Pressel and Creamer showered Wie on the 18th green after the winning putt.

“Just seeing them come out and pour beer all over me, it was a great feeling,” Wie said. “I’ve always seen it on TV and I’ve always wanted people to pour beer on me. It was as great as I thought it was.”

Her parents, dad B.J. and mom Bo, were there, too, for an embrace.

“I think it’s just so awesome, seeing them on the 18th green and hugging them,” Wie said. “You know, we have been through a lot as a family, and it’s just so great that they are here to share my highs and to keep me up from the lows, as well.”

Wie earned $220,000 to push her season winnings just over $900,000. The win came in her 65th LPGA Tour event – she had finished second six times.

Wie won the 2003 USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links, her only significant victory until Sunday.

“Right now it feels fantastic,” Wie said. “It’s great year. I went through some ups and downs … And obviously this tournament is the icing on the cake.”

Pressel (67), Jiyai Shin (71) and Cristie Kerr (72) were three back. Wie finished at 13-under 275 after starting the day at the Guadalajara Country Club tied for the lead with Kerr at 10 under.

“Congrats to michelle!!” Pressel tweeted.

Wie first qualified for a USGA event at age 10 and played an LPGA event when she was 12. She joined the LPGA this season and has begun to show the sizzling game that has made her arguably the biggest attraction in women’s golf.

Dressed head to toe in red, Wie had a few shaky moments but she was steadier down the stretch as her rivals faltered. In the past, it’s often been the Hawaiian who has stumbled.

The 6-foot Wie stood tall despite a nagging sprained left ankle that forced her to wear a large, black brace that extends 6 inches above her shoe top.

Wie had chances to pull away on the front nine, but couldn’t quite do it and finished with a 2-under 34 – 12 under for the tournament. She went to 13 under with a birdie on 11, giving her a one-shot lead over Creamer and Kerr. Wie bogeyed the next hole when her escape shot from under a cluster of trees squarely hit a trunk, the ball rebounding into the fairway behind her.

But she made par through 17.

Creamer drew even with Wie with an eagle on 10. But two bogeys down the stretch ruined her chances of victory.

“I gave it a chance, and Michelle played great,” said Creamer, who has battled stomach problems for a year and fought off back and thumb injuries. She is winless this year after eight career victories.

“I feel a lot better with my golf,” she said. “It’s just unfortunate that you’re so close, yet you’re so far away.”

The co-leader with Wie after three rounds, Kerr was level par on the front nine and reached 12 under with birdies on 10 and 11. After 12 holes, Wie, Creamer and Kerr were tied, but Kerr faded with bogeys on 15 and 16.

Shin, the rookie of the year, also slipped. Tournament host Ochoa shot 69 to finish six pack and Ai Miyazato, No. 2 on this year’s money list, finished 10 back after a 72.

Ochoa and Shin will battle next week for the player of the year award at the LPGA Tour Championship in Houston, the last event of the season. Ochoa has won the last three, but Shin leads the points race.

Nancy Lopez is the only player to win both the rookie and player awards in the same season, accomplishing the feat in 1978.

The LPGA, battered by economic problems and the forced resignation of its commissioner this summer, needs this as much as Wie.

“Literally, when Michelle Wie is atop the leaderboard it’s like night and day and that’s star power,” LPGA spokesman David Higdon said the day before Wie’s win. “That’s all it is. This is somebody people want to follow. You see it in her presence, the way she walks around. The way people talk to her.”

Wie played PGA Tour events when she was 14 – the biggest stage there is. She was criticized at the time for not focusing on women’s events. She turned pro in 2005 before even finishing high school.

She ignored the criticism and, at 16, she was poised to become the first woman to qualify for the men’s U.S. Open before her putter failed her.

Shortly after that she began to lose confidence and the biggest attraction in women’s golf went into a long, painful slump that was made worst by a wrist injury that ruined her 2007 season.

When she is on her game, it flies with soaring drives and better and better touch on the greens. Wie has finished second twice this season, and has two other third-place finishes on the LPGA Tour.

She has slowly worked her way back, earning her LPGA card for this season, gaining credibility with players and emerging as a star on this year’s Solheim Cup, going undefeated in four matches.

“It just taught me so much about handling that situation,” Wie said. “And actually, I wore my Solheim shoes today. So I felt pretty lucky.”

Note: The final round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational will air again Monday at 7 p.m.

American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.



“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.