Wie earns tour card Lewis medalist at Q-School

By Associated PressDecember 7, 2008, 5:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ' Having played 90 holes over five days in pursuit of LPGA membership, the final act for Michelle Wie was to sign her scorecard. Walking to the tent, one fan held up a sign that played off the marathon political season.
 
Yes Wie Can.
 
Yes, she did, even if the road was filled with one surprise after another.
 

Wie Watch ' LPGA Q-School

Final round
 
Score: 74 (12-under 348, tied for seventh place and six strokes behind medalist Stacy Lewis)
 
Behind the scorecard: Nightmare bogey-bogey-bogey start was more a byproduct of the cold, windy conditions, and a punchy swing that David Leadbetter said had gotten quick in the wind, than nerves. Wie managed to slow her swing and closed her front nine with six pars. She picked up her first birdie of the day at the 10th, a sweeping 8-footer, and easily secured her tour card with a steady par-par-birdie-par finish.
 
Quotable: She was talking about her (injured left) wrist this week and said, Its tingling a little bit. Im not nervous but my wrist is, Leadbetter said.
 
Sights and sounds: In her post-round interview, her first of the week, Wie said she planned to attend the winter quarter at Stanford. That is, she added, if she makes it out of her fall quarter. Wie planned to fly from one taxing exam, Q-School finals, to another, her final exam in sociology on Wednesday. The winter quarter ends in March, which would give Wie plenty of time to prepare for the years first major in April. Wie also said she has nearly settled on a major ' East Asian Studies. Im 89.5 percent sure, she said.
 
' Rex Hoggard


I took the long way to get here, Wie said after a 2-over 74 on Sunday, putting her in a tie for seventh among the 20 players who earned their LPGA cards. But I feel really good about it.
 
The 19-year-old from Hawaii looked to be on the fast track when she qualified for her first LPGA event at age 12. Wie played in the final group of a major at 13, shot 68 on the PGA Tour at the Sony Open a year later, had a share of the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Womens Open at 15 and shared the lead on the back nine of three straight majors soon after getting a drivers license.
 
Equally amazing was her downfall.
 
First came the wrist injuries in 2007, and shattered confidence as she tried to play hurt and couldnt break par. That led to Q-School, where the cant miss teen could not afford to fail.
 
Despite starting with three straight bogeys and failing to hit a green in regulation until the sixth hole, Wie steadied herself at LPGA International and made it comfortably.
 
This is a good test, swing coach David Leadbetter said. Theres a lot of jingled nerves, and she has performed nicely.
 
For someone who had been taking handouts longer for one-third of her life ' 53 exemptions or invitations out of 62 events ' Wie felt earning her card was among her greatest achievements.
 
Finally, she can tee it up on the LPGA and feel as though she belongs.
 
I really earned it, Wie said. I legitimately went through Q-school ' went through the first stage, went through the second stage ' and I really got it. Its like high school graduation.
 
The valedictorian was former NCAA champion Stacy Lewis, who had to go through Q-school because the LPGA does not count earnings from the U.S. Womens Open, where she tied for third in her pro debut. Lewis birdied her last two holes for a 69, giving her a three-shot victory over Amy Yang.
 
I had the door shut on me a couple of times, but they cant do it anymore, Lewis said.
 
Lewis finished at 18-under 342.
 
Wie said she will return to Stanford for the winter quarter, but plans a full LPGA schedule next year. Without being a member, she was limited to six LPGA events, plus the U.S. Womens Open and Womens British Open.
 
I play whenever I want now, not when I have to play, or only six tournaments, she said. Im going to take advantage of this card.
 
But she hasnt ruled out playing against the men.
 
Wie has not made the cut in eight tries on the PGA Tour, where she twice shot 68 in the Sony Open to set the record for lowest score by a female competing against the men. She has played six other mens events, making only one cut in South Korea.
 
I still want to purse that, she said. Im the kind of person where if I start out and want to pursue it, Im going to do it. Ive always wanted to do it since I started golf.
 
Next up is two days of LPGA orientation, a final at Stanford on Wednesday, then home to Honolulu for the holidays where she plans to be a beach bum for seven days.
 
All that mattered on Sunday, where the 15 mph wind and temperatures in the 50s made for a chilly start, was finishing in the top 20. Wie figured she was in good shape after settling down with a diet of fairways-and greens, but she still felt anxious walking toward the 18th green and looking at the lone leaderboard on the Champions course at LPGA International.
 
I was like, I just need to see three letters on that leaderboard, she said.
 
The name Wie was toward the bottom, hidden by a gallery never before seen at LPGA Q-School.
 
As much as Wie needed her membership card, the LPGA desperately needs a player like Wie, especially with Annika Sorenstam stepping away from competition. The gallery was close to 500 people, enough to surround the 18th green when Wie knocked in a 4-foot par putt to complete her most important test in golf.
 
It seems so long ago when Tom Lehman nicknamed her the Big Wiesy because her swing reminded him of Ernie Els; when she was atop the leaderboard of three straight LPGA majors at age 16 without winning; when she reached the quarterfinals of the mens U.S. Amateur Public Links as a 15-year-old during an unfathomable quest of qualifying for the Masters.
 
With an LPGA card in hand, Wie is all about the future.
 
You will never be who you were when you were 14 or 15, she said. You move forward. Im a completely different person now.
 
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    Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

    Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

    Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

    “The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.

     

     

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    Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

    Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

    She wondered if there would be resentment.

    She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

    “I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

    PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

    Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

    She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

    Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

    “It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

    Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

    He waved Lincicome over.

    “He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

    Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

    “The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

    Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

    Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

    “I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

    Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

    Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

    Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

    What are Lincicome’s expectations?

    She would love to make the cut, but . . .

    “Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

    Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

    “I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

    Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

    Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

    As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

    “The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

    Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

    The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

    “She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

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    Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

    There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

    Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

    She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

    It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

    Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

    "It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

    Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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    Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

    Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

    “I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”


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    Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

    “It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

    The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

    “All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”