Wie Gets Invitation to First LPGA Major
The Nabisco has a tradition of inviting amateurs, and a 13-year-old teeing it up with Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and the best women in golf is nothing new.
Three years ago, twins Aree and Naree Wongluekiet played the Nabisco at 13, and Aree tied for 10th while playing in the final group Sunday.
``Hopefully, we can beat that record,'' said Michelle's father, B.J. Wie.
Wie, who is from Hawaii, played in three LPGA Tour events last year and missed the cut each time. She reached the semifinals of the U.S. Women's Public Links Amateur at age 12, the youngest semifinalist in any women's amateur event run by the U.S. Golf Association.
But what sold the Nabisco on her were the stories from Hawaii last month.
Wie tried to qualify Monday for the Sony Open. Playing the back tees at Pearl Country Club, she shot a 1-over 73 and tied for 47th against 96 men.
``There's a lot of guys who got kicked around by a 13-year-old girl,'' said Andy Miller, who won the qualifier with a 65.
She also played a Pro-Junior Amateur event the day before the Sony Open, and several players stopped on the range to watch her swing.
``You watch her swing and say, 'That's normal.' Then you realize that she's only 13 and that's ... that's unbelievable,'' Vijay Singh said.
That's what led Nabisco tournament director Terry Wilcox to give her an exemption, along with five other amateurs. The Wongluekiets also will be in the field at the Nabisco, to be played March 27-30 in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
``I had considered Michelle earlier, but I had the opportunity to read more and more about her,'' Wilcox said. ``I was so impressed about all the things I heard from tour players. I thought about me in awe watching Fred Couples. And to think he was awed watching her was so unusual.''
Couples also watched her play in Hawaii.
``When you see her hit a golf ball ... there's nothing that prepares you for it,'' he told Golf World magazine. ``It's just the scariest thing you've ever seen.''
Wie started playing at age 4, and she shot a 64 at Olomana Golf Links when she was 10. The next year, she won the Jennie K. ' the most prestigious women's event in Hawaii ' by nine strokes.
Two months ago at the Hawaii State Open, she played from a shorter set of tees (like Suzy Whaley in Connecticut) and beat every man in the field. In the women's division, she beat former LPGA player Cindy Flom by 13 shots.
Wilcox said the Nabisco tries to select amateurs who have played well on a national level, and ``her recent successes in Hawaii were enough to get my attention.''
B.J. Wie, a professor of transportation at the University of Hawaii, said the timing couldn't be better for his eighth-grade daughter.
``She's on spring break that week,'' he said.
Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups
Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.
That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.
Watch the video below.
The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.
Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win
ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title
The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.
Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.
Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.
Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.
Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.
Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass
CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.
According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.
“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”
But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.
It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.
“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”
DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.
“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”
Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title
Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.
Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)
What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.
Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.
Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.
Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.
Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.
Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18