WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Michelle Wie had the second hole-in-one of her professional career Thursday on the way to a 7-under 65 and a three-shot lead after the first round of the Canadian Women’s Open.
“It was the first time I had actually seen it go in a tournament,” the 20-year-old Hawaii native said of her ace on the 190-yard, par-3 11th hole. “It was pretty cool. It was surreal. I didn’t believe it had actually happened.”
The youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Amateur Championship at age 10, the 6-foot-tall (1.83-meter) Wie says she’s notched eight holes-in-one in her career, but only one other as a pro, in her rookie season at last year’s LPGA Championship.
Sarah Kemp of Australia was three strokes back of Wie after her morning-round 68, while defending champion Suzann Pettersen was in third place with a 69.
Rookie Ilhee Lee of South Korea initially had a score of 69, but it was later corrected to 70 – a mark shared by a group of players.
Wie bogeyed the 12th hole but birdied three of her final six. On 17, she holed out from a greenside bunker. Wie holds the first-round lead for the second time in her career and first since the 2005 U.S. Open.
Seema Sadekar was the lowest Canadian after shooting a 73.
Wie delivered a second spectacular shot, on No. 17, when she holed out from a greenside bunker for a birdie.
“I just really thought I could make it, and I went up there, really thought about it, just trusted it, and kind of did what I thought it would do,” Wie said.
The Canadian Open is Wie’s 15th event this season. She’s had three Top-10 finishes, with the best a third at the Tres Marias Championship in May. Her only career victory came at last November’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
Kemp overcame blustery winds during the day to tally six birdies and two bogeys on the par-72, 6,572-yard course.
“My putter, I think, was the 4-under today,” said Kemp, 25, who’s in her third season on the Tour. “I holed some really good putts and I just kept it in play.”
After a couple of withdrawals on Wednesday, the 156-player field features 46 of the top 50 players on the money list and all of the top 15 on the Rolex World Rankings.
Most of the world’s top players didn’t fare well.
No. 1 Ai Miyazato of Japan was tied for 63rd after shooting a 74, No. 2 Cristie Kerr finished tied for 81st with 75 and No. 3 Pettersen had the best with her 69.
Jiyai Shin of South Korea, is ranked fourth in the world and posted one of the 70s.
No. 5 Yani Tseng of Taiwan was tied for 46th after going 1-over.
Teen sensation Alexis Thompson shot a 71. Thompson turned pro in June at the age of 15, the youngest female to do so.
“Honestly, I think she’s unbelievable, just being 15 and doing what she does,” said 18-year-old Rebecca Lee-Bentham. “I had fun out there. It was great playing with her. She’s a great player.”