Wie Proves She Belongs with Finish

By Associated PressJune 12, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 McDonaldHARVE DE GRACE, Md. -- Michelle Wie was rolling her eyes and slapping her thigh in disgust early in the final round of the LPGA Championship.
 
By the end of the round Sunday, the 15-year-old from Hawaii was accepting back-slaps of congratulations for her career-best runner-up finish in the LPGA Tour major.
 
As challenger after challenger failed to make a run at steady-playing Annika Sorenstam in the final round, Wie worked her way up the leaderboard. The first amateur to play in the LPGA Championship closed with a 3-under 69 for an 8-under 280 total -- three off Sorenstam's winning score
 
``I just felt really good about myself today,'' Wie said. ``I was trying to make a run for her money, but I just wanted to shoot a good score.
 
``I definitely felt like I had a chance. Although, the last couple holes, I knew it was kind of far to reach.''
 
Wie was the only player in the field to break par in all four rounds.
 
``That's why I can't understand people saying that she can't be here,'' said Laura Davies, who tied for third. ``She belongs here.''
 
Wie is the sixth amateur to finish second in an LPGA major and the first since Jenny Chuasiriporn lost in a playoff to Se Ri Pak in the 1998 U.S. Women's Open. Pat O'Sullivan (1951 Titleholders) and Catherine Lacoste (1967 U.S. Women's Open) are the only amateurs to win majors.
 
This is just the latest success for Wie.
 
She won the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links at age 13 and shot a 68 at the Sony Open last year at 14, the lowest score ever by a female competing on the PGA Tour. She finished fourth in the 2004 Kraft Nabisco and tied for second in an LPGA Tour event in January.
 
Wie opened the championship at Bulle Rock Golf Club with a solid 3-under 69 and followed with consecutive 71s, earning a spot in the next-to-last group for the final round.
 
And while Sorenstam pulled away, claiming her third straight LPGA Championship and moving to the halfway mark in her quest to win the Grand Slam, Wie made her presence felt.
 
And she did it in predictable fashion, taking advantage of her length off the tee and playing the par-5s at Bulle Rock in 6 under over four days.
 
``My energy was so up that my 3-wood went farther than my driver in the last couple of days,'' said Wie, who overcame an upset stomach to surge into contention Thursday.
 
Wie struggled with her putter throughout the early rounds, missing a number of putts from 15 feet or less. But late in the final round, the pieces started to come together.
 
She made bogey at the par-5 second when her approach spot spun back off the front of the green. She pitched past the hole and left her par try short. She gave her right leg a hard whack, which might have gotten her started.
 
She reeled off five straight pars and then birdied the par-5 eighth.
 
She picked up two more strokes with consecutive birdies at Nos. 10-11. Wie scrambled out of trouble at the 14th, chipping out of deep rough and making the par putt.
 
She had a long eagle chance at the 493-yard, par-5 15th, and sent a nifty lag putt within tap-in distance. She closed out the round with four straight pars for the best showing of her career.
 
``I felt real good about my putting on the last nine holes,'' she said.
 
As an amateur who just finished her sophomore year in high school and recently got her driver's permit, Wie wasn't eligible for the $164,385 second-place prize. That meant an extra $36,000 each to rookie Paula Creamer and Davies, who tied for third at 6 under and split second- and third-place money instead of the third- and fourth-place cash they would have shared had Wie been a pro.
 
Despite a 14th-place at the first major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco, some players grumbled about the rule change that allowed Wie to join the 150-player field.
 
``There's definitely going to be some people who are against me, and I really don't care about it,'' she said.
 
Wie has already qualified for the U.S. Women's Open in Colorado in two weeks, and received an exemption into the Women's British Open in July.
 
But first, she'll compete in the U.S. Amateur Public Links qualifier on Tuesday near Pittsburgh.
 
And later this summer, she play in the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic.
 
On this week at least, Wie was better than the rest of the field, behind only Sorenstam.
 
``She belongs here,'' Davies said. ``Anyone who don't believe that has rocks in their head.''
 
Related Links:
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    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

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    Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

    For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

    By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

    But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

    As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

    “This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

    Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

    As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

    After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

    “I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

    But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

    Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

    “I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

    There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

    Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

    And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

    As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

    “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

    Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

    Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

    The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

    Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

    It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”