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Teens Open With Mixed Reviews

NORTH PLAINS, Ore. (AP) -- Michelle Wie finished her opening round of the U.S. Women's Open with a pumped fist. Fellow 13-year-old Sydney Burlison fled the final green with her head bowed.
Wie and Burlison were the youngest among the 14 teenagers who teed off Thursday at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
Wie, a 6-footer from Honolulu known for 300-yard drives, finished with a 2-over 73, well behind Mhairi McKay, the leader at 66.
'I played OK, but not that good,' Wie said.
She salvaged her round with a birdie on her final hole on the Witch Hollow course, the par-4 9th. She pumped her fist as she was showered with applause from a sizable gallery.
Burlison double bogeyed her final hole, the par-5 18th, to finish with a 10-over 81.
After her round she took several long moments to compose herself in the clubhouse, then emerged red-eyed.
'I wanted to play better than this,' she said.
Morgan Pressel, a 15-year-old from Boca Raton, Fla., double-bogeyed No. 9 to wrap up her day with a 70, tied with fellow teenager Aree Song, 17 and a recent graduate of Pendleton High School in Bradenton, Fla.
'I was so nervous on the first tee,' Song said. 'I was just glad to make contact.'
Fourteen is the most teens anyone can remember in the field at the Open, although no one knows if it's the most because the USGA for years asked only for handicap, not age.
Burlison is the youngest player in the field. The 13-year-old Californian, still in braces, is nine days younger than Wie.
Both girls are the same age as defending champion Juli Inkster's daughter.
But neither Wie nor Burlison are the youngest to qualify for an Open. That honor goes to Pressel, of Boca Raton, Fla., who was 12 when she made it into the field two years ago. Pressel turned 13 in time to play at Pine Needles.
Most of the attention is on Wie, who two weeks ago became the youngest player to win a USGA title for adults at the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links. Earlier this year, she played in the final group of an LPGA major at the Nabisco Championship.
'Golf is getting younger and younger, I guess,' Wie said.
Song and her twin sister Naree, who until this year went by the last name Wongluekiet, burst on to the scene at the Nabisco in 2000, when both were 13. Aree Song tied for 10th while playing in the final group Sunday.
In this year's Nabisco she tied for 21st.
'I'm getting more comfortable and I'm learning a lot,' Aree Song said of her progression in big tournaments over the past few years.
On Thursday, she was at par through seven holes, bogeyed the par-4 5th but birdied No. 9 to recover.
Approaching the vexing 18th hole, she was 2-under. But after a well-placed shot from a deep hollow area found the green, she missed a 4-foot par putt.
Aree Song played in a group with Christina Kim, a 19-year-old from Northern California, and LPGA Tour pro Natalie Gulbis, who is 20. Gulbis had a 73, Kim a 3-over 74.
Both Aree and Naree, who are natives of Thailand, plan to attend the University of Florida in the fall. They dropped their rather complicated last names at the start of the year.
Naree Song finished with a 76. Other teenagers who played included 18-year-old Irene Cho, soon to be a sophomore at Southern California, who shot an even par 71; Elizabeth Janangelo, 19, a freshman at Duke last year who shot 75; and 16-year-old Jane Park of Oak Valley, Calif., who finished at 76.
Alice Kim, 18, of Los Angeles shot a 78; Paula Creamer, 16 of Bradenton, shot a 75, Cindy Shin, 18, of Coppell, Texas, shot a 78; Whitney Wade, 17, of Glasgow, Ky., shot an 81; and Soo Young Moon, 19, of Korea, shot a 76.
'I don't really have a goal, as in finishing first, in relation to the field,' Aree Song said. 'My goal was to test myself and I think this is the place to do it, really. And if I could keep going, that would be great.'
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the U.S. Women's Open
  • U.S. Women's Open Leaderboard
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