Sunday, June 22, 2014

Michelle Wie wins U.S. Open

PINEHURST, N.C. — Michelle Wie’s strategy for the 69th United States Women’s Open was to laugh in the face of disaster. She made it her mantra. When bad shots happen, smile and move on.

Much has gone wrong on the golf course for Wie since she made the cut at the 2003 United States Women’s Open as a 13-year-old. Eleven years later, she came to Pinehurst No. 2 still in search of her first major title.

Would misfortune visit Wie again? It was lurking on the 16th hole, a par 4. Cruising along with a three-stroke lead, Wie had to take a one-stroke penalty for an unplayable lie when her approach settled in a clump of grass. She left the green with a double bogey and her lead over Stacy Lewis, who had closed with a four-under 66, whittled to one.

While Lewis, the world No. 1, made her way to the range to prepare for a possible playoff, Wie rebooted. She hit her tee shot at the par-3 17th to 20 feet and made the putt, a stroke of fortune that would have been inconceivable two years ago.

To rebound from the disaster at 16 with a birdie was a tribute to Wie’s resolve, which was finally — and richly — rewarded. She finished with a par 70 for a 72-hole total of two-under 278 for her fourth career victory on the L.P.G.A. Tour and her first in the continental United States.

“I like to make it hard on myself,” said Wie, who described the victory as “amazing.”

Wie, 24, was the only player to finish in red numbers. Lewis, at 280, was followed by Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow, who posted a 69 for a one-over total in her professional debut.

Juli Inkster, playing the tournament for the 35th and final time, carded a 75 to finish tied for 15th at seven over.

Wie said winning the title now meant more than it would have in 2005 or 2006 when she played in the last group on the final day.

“If I won it back then I would have been like, ‘Oh, cool, this is awesome,’ ” Wie said. “But I think it means a lot more to me because I went through so much.”

*** [11/19/14]

A rewarding year for Michelle Wie



Post a Comment

<< Home