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Wie Creamer Exempt for 2005

2004 U.S. WomenSOUTH HADLEY, Mass. -- After being criticized the past several months for getting a special exemption into the U.S. Women's Open, Michelle Wie made sure she earned her way to next year's event.
The 14-year-old from Hawaii shot a four-round total of 1-over 285 at Orchards Golf Club, tying her as the low amateur with another talented teen -- 17-year-old Paula Creamer. They finished in the top 20, earning them a free pass to the 2005 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills Golf Club in Englewood, Colo.
'There's always critics with everything,' Wie said. 'I think I have an easy way in next year and I'm really glad that I played really good today.'
For Creamer, wrapping up low amateur score was most important.
'There's a lot of pride that goes into it,' she said.
Creamer and Wie have developed a friendship through junior golf and didn't want to speculate about a rivalry as their careers develop.
'I don't know if there will be an ongoing rivalry,' Creamer said. 'But I like to win every tournament.'
Face-Saving Sunday
Hilary Lunke was in the final pairing Sunday last year at Pumpkin Ridge. This time, she was first on the tee as her reign as U.S. Women's Open champ came to an ugly end.
She closed with a 3-over 74 and finished in next-to-last place at 17-over 301.
'I had a terrible round yesterday,' she said of her 81. 'But I fought back and saved face.'
Lunke went 44 holes without a birdie, a streak that started on her fourth hole (No. 13) in the second round and ended Sunday on the par-5 13th. Lunke made only seven birdies all week, and three of those came at the 13th.
But say this much for Lunke: She doesn't quit.
Most people considered her victory last year one of the biggest flukes in golf. Lunke didn't help matters by making the cut in only six of 12 events this year, and her Open title remains her only top-10 finish.
She started this tournament 4 over after four holes, then fought back for a 72 in the first round. And playing only for pride on Sunday, she played the back nine in 34.
Lunke was asked if her responsibilities as defending champion were finally over when she signed her card.
'I don't think your responsibilities are ever over,' she said. 'But I'm free to go.'
An Open Lesson
Brittany Lincicome finished her first U.S. Women's Open in style.
The 18-year-old Floridian, who will turn professional in October, stunned Orchards Golf Club -- and herself -- by holing out for eagle on the 15th hole on her way to a 5-under 66 and the first-round lead, matching the lowest score ever by amateur.
The dream ended quickly with rounds of 77 and 76, and she closed with a 78 to finish at 13-over 297. But she did manage a birdie on the last hole, nearly holing out from the fairway. It stopped a foot behind the hole.
She celebrated by tossing her ball to the gallery.
'I think I learned a lot about my game and myself,' Lincicome said. 'I think I learned that if I'm not smiling and bubbly, my game's going to go south.'
And when it was all over, all she could do was smile.
Can She Hold On?
Jennifer Rosales had just made her first bogey of the day on the par-3 seventh when she went to use the bathroom. The sign said 'Players Only,' but the door was locked. A woman from the gallery rushed over and banged on the door.
'Evan. A player needs to use the bathroom. Come out now!'
At which point a young boy emerged and sheepishly walked back into the gallery, wondering why so many people were staring at him.
Final-Round Notes
Meg Mallon's last six wins have been come-from-behind victories ... Two-time Open champion Juli Inkster played the final 42 holes without a birdie, closing with a 78-79 on the weekend to finish at 15-over 299. It was her highest 72-hole score in the Women's Open since she shot 300 in 1986 at NCR Golf Club in Dayton, Ohio. ... A record crowd turned out at Orchards Golf Course for the U.S. Women's Open. The total attendance of 118,458 broke the previous mark of 116,000 for the Open set in 1998 at Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin, which included a Monday playoff.
Related Links:
  • TGC to Re-Air Final Round
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Women's Open

  • Full Coverage U.S. Women's Open
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