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Wie Has Them Buzzing in Hawaii

AIEA, Hawaii -- Michelle Wie had them buzzing Friday at the Hawaii Pearl Open.
Playing from the back tees, the 13-year-old from Honolulu opened with a 2-over 74 at one of the premier men's golf tournaments in Hawaii. She was tied for 50th, seven strokes off the lead, held by Japan tour pro Kiyoshi Murota.
The only female in the field of 192, and the youngest overall, Wie felt fine until she ran into a bunch of bees on the 11th hole.
``I got stung like five times in the same place, so I was limping,'' she said. ``My whole leg was pretty sore after that.''
Wie said her goal in the three-day event ' which draws half of its field from top Japanese pro and amateur players ' was to place in the top 20.
Last year, Wie failed to make the cut after rounds of 74 and 80. She is aiming to shoot even par Saturday to comfortably make the cut and stay in the hunt.
Wie had two birdies and four bogeys in her round, making the turn at 37. She was paired with three men from the Japanese tour, and she beat two of them. At nearly 6 feet tall, Wie towered over her playing partners.
Japanese pro Hikekazu Matsui, who was five strokes behind Wie, didn't speak much English, but did know one word that summed up his teenage partner's game: ``strong.''
The $80,000 tournament was played at Pearl Country Club, where Wie tried to qualify for last month's Sony Open. In the Monday qualifier, Wie shot a 1-over 73 from the back tees and tied for 47th against 96 men.
Following her attempt at the Sony, Wie was featured on national television, golf magazines and sports pages across the state.
``It's really fun, I like it,'' she said of the media coverage. ``It also pushes me harder because I think if I don't play good, all the attention will go away.''
That attention paid of Wednesday when Wie received an invitation from the Nabisco Championship to play in the LPGA Tour's first major in Mission Hills, Calif.
``I was really happy, it's cool,'' she said. ``It's like a real pro event and I'm playing with the real big guys, well sort of big guys.''
Wie played in three LPGA Tour events last year and missed the cut each time. At the Nabisco, she is hoping to accomplish two things ' make the cut and meet golfer Se Ri Pak.
Wie has played in Hawaii's top women's and men's tournaments on Oahu for the past two years. So, is she getting used to playing against the men yet?
``I was used to it a long time ago,'' she said.
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