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Only Michelle Shined on the Day

Posted January. 18, 2004 23:26,   


She smiled brightly after finishing the 18th green after lowering one stroke. She believed that she could make the cut with 140 strokes, the score for qualifying from last year.

But her smile soon disappeared. She couldn’t believe it when she heard from a PGA official that the score for qualifying was 139 strokes. “I was really disappointed. I thought I made it.”

A 14-year-old “Golf genius girl” Michelle Wie (Wie Seong-mi) drew a dragon but failed to put its eyeball on it. It was the second round of the PGA tour Sony Open held at Waialei CC (par 70, 7060 yards) in Honolulu, Hawaii on January 17. Wie fired a 2-under par with four birdies and two bogeys to record even par, 140 strokes (in tied 80th place) but missed the cut by one shot in her gender battle as the youngest player.

Female players have never made the cut in the PGA tour during half a century since Babe Zaharias (U.S.) made it at the L.A. Open in 1945. The extreme barrier was almost broken by a brave teenager girl, so it is disappointing. After finishing with a 2-over par (the 105th place) at the first round, Wie, with a 5,000-strong gallery around her, showed off long-range drives and recorded only 23 putts, lowering the previous day putts by eight. Marking even par until the 15th hole, Wie lowered two scores in the last three holes. At the 18th hole (par 5), she sent the tee shot 296 yards and tried to make an eagle by a chip shot but missed the hole by 1.2m. “I think I did a great job. I should have achieved an eagle at the final hole…” said Wie.

Many appraises felled on her even if she blew her dream to make the cut, which is given to the top 79 golfers. Her score of 2-under par and 68 strokes in the second round is the only under par played by a female player on the PGA tour.

New York Times headed her good performance with the title of “A 14-year-old girl Michelle Wie turns down all skeptics.” It also spoke highly of her, reporting “a showcase for the most-talked about amateur player since Tiger Woods.”

The L.A. Times reported her performance in the second round with a title of “Wie Agonizes” and ESPN Internet expressed its regret with the article titled “I can’t believe it” quoted from her.

Meanwhile, Na Sang-wook (Kolon) hit an even par with a total of 5-under par to fall back from tied for 18th place to tied for 27th at the third round on January 18. Harrison Frazar (U.S.) now leads solely with 14-under par.

Davis Love III (U.S.), who fired a daily best of 7-under par and jumped to tied 3rd place, commented, “Wie’s story was still a topic of conversation in the locker room. It seems rather down without her.”

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com