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Thirteen-year-old Wie Tries to Qualify for Sony

AIEA, Hawaii -- Michelle Wie said she believes female golfers not only belong on the PGA Tour, but will one day dominate the sport. And the 13-year-old from Honolulu is trying her best to prove it.
Wie shot a 1-over par 73, but failed to qualify for the Sony Open in competition Monday. Wie was the youngest and only female in the field of 96 players trying to make the four remaining slots for the event.
''I think someday we'll be better,'' said Wie, who played from the championship tees with the men. ''Women strive harder and they have better goals.''
Regan Lee and Andy Miller qualified for the Sony with a 65. Royden Heirakuji and Richard Pride each had a 66 and took the two other qualifying spots after a playoff with Gregory Meyer and Mark Worthington.
Wie finished tied for 47th from a field that included 12 PGA Tour players and 12 from the Nationwide Tour.
Wie, who began the round at the 6,787-yard Pearl Country Club on the back nine, made the turn at 35, but bogeyed Nos. 1, 2 and 8, dropping her out of contention. She also had three birdies in the round.
''It was just the stupid mistakes that I had,'' she said. ''I just have to have more experience, eliminate the bogeys and make the birdies.''
Wie, who played in three LPGA Tour events last year as an amateur, was paired with Puerto Rican Juan Rodriguez and Honolulu resident Robert Ota.
''If she keeps going the way she is, Annika better watch out,'' said Rodriguez, nephew of golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said there were no distractions despite the media that followed them and being paired with a girl, almost a third his age.
''She's a very good player and she behaves herself really well on the golf course,'' he said. ''She just made a couple mistakes putting the ball, other than that she hit the ball pretty good.''
Rodriguez said he was competing against the course and not Wie.
''As far as she's concerned, I treated her like every other golfer and she did very well,'' he said.
Senior PGA Tour player Dick Mast also got a look at Wie -- who stands at 5-foot-10 and can drive the golf ball 300 yards. He said it would've been great for her to qualify.
''She's got a beautiful swing, it's amazing she's only in eighth grade,'' he said.
Mast said although there hasn't been a woman on the PGA Tour, given the technology, equipment and training, he wouldn't be surprised to see Wie alongside the men one day.
''She might be the next Tiger Woods of the ladies tour and might be able to play the men's tour,'' he said. ''It would be something to see.''
Last year, Suzy Whaley became the first woman to qualify for a PGA Tour event when her victory in a PGA sectional tournament -- even though she played from shorter tees -- made her eligible for the Greater Hartford Open.
Wie, who last year became the youngest player to earn a spot in an LPGA Tour event through a qualifier, said she'll most likely try to make the Sony Open again.
Monday was the second time Wie attempted to make the Sony Open. In the 2000 Monday qualifier -- when Wie was 10 -- she shot an 84.
''I didn't know much about the game, I just went out there and played,'' she said. ''This year I have more experience.''
Wie isn't eligible to turn pro until five more years, but doesn't plan to until she finishes college.
B.J. Wie, her father and caddie, said he's proud of his daughter's overall performance, but will need to work on reading the greens and putting.
Wie said she wasn't pleased with her play, but she was happy about something else.
''I showed that I can play,'' she said.