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Wie Wins Womens PubLinks Title

PALM COAST, Fla. -- Michelle Wie, the 13-year-old sensation, rallied from an early 4-down deficit Sunday to defeat Virada Nirapathpongporn 1-up and win the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links championship.
With the victory, Wie became the youngest champion in the 108-year history of United States Golf Association adult championships.
'It means a lot,' said Wie, who had not won outside of her home state of Hawaii. 'I never won a national championship. The Women's Amateur Public Links was my first for everything. It was my first national tournament to play in, when I was 10, so I'm pretty glad.'
Nirapathpongporn, like Wie, has appeared in several LPGA Tour events as an amateur and was gracious in defeat.
'It was fun playing with her,' Nirapathpongporn said. 'She obviously has the advantage of that length. For me, it's just unfortunate. I worked so hard and tried my best.'
Wie had taken an early 1-up lead with a birdie on the second hole. That lead was short-lived, however, as Nirapathpongporn birdied five of her next six holes to take a 4-up lead through eight holes.
Wie cut the deficit to one with birdies on Nos. 9, 11 and 13, and squared the match with a birdie at the 487-yard, par-5 14th. The match would remain all square through 18 holes.
When the afternoon round began, Nirapathpongporn again took an early lead, winning the 20th hole before a birdie on the 22nd hole extended her lead to 2-up.
Wie was unfazed and took over from there. She birdied the 23rd and 24th holes to square the match. She then grabbed a 1-up advantage with a par on the 25th hole and extended the lead to 2-up with a birdie on the 27th.
Wie's lead slipped to one as her drive on the 29th hole found water. Nirapathpongporn then hit a nice approach shot to the 31st hole to setup a birdie that squared the match.
Wie eagled the 32nd hole to regain a 1-up advantage. Nirapathpongporn evened the match at the very next hole, however, when Wie again hit into a water hazard, costing her the hole.
The hectic back-and-forth play ended on the 35th hole. Nirapathpongporn missed a short par-saving putt for a half to give Wie a 1-up lead heading to the 36th hole.
On the final hole, both players made par four, giving Wie the title.
'Golf is more fun if you take risks,' said Wie, in reference to some of the tough shots she made during the final. 'If you make it on the island green you feel wonderful and as if you've won the championship.'
Wie will return to the LPGA Tour at this week's ShopeRite Classic. She will remain with the pros the following week at the U.S. Women's Open at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, and will try for her next amateur crown at the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship in early August.
The U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association, of which ten are strictly for amateurs.
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