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By a “359-yard Tee Shot,” Michelle Survives Another Cut

By a “359-yard Tee Shot,” Michelle Survives Another Cut

Posted February. 08, 2004 22:51,   


A 359-yard tee shot!

With a nice long shot, Michelle Wie (her Korean name is Wie Song-mi) succeeded in surviving a cut for the second year in a row at the Hawaii Pearl Open, with a total prize of $77,000.

The second round takes place at Pearl CC (par 72) in Hawaii on February 8. Michelle Wie, the only woman and the youngest among 192 players, finished 4 under par at 69, with 6 birdies and 2 bogeys. She finally earned entry in the third and final round, open to those ranked in the top 80, as she jumped from 83rd place to 35th, recording 2 under par at 142 in the interim findings.

She is a position to improve her record of 43rd place from last year, as she is behind only two shots after 19 players.

Although she failed in missing the cut by one shot in the U.S. PGA tour Sony Open last month, she displayed her long shot in this tournament in which players of the Japan Golf Tour Official (JGTO) and local club pro golfers mainly participated. Reflecting her popularity, she was followed by a number of spectators and the organizers of the tournament placed five bodyguards around her.

Michelle shot over 300 yards three times in drives measuring flying distance, starting smoothly with a birdie in the first hole (par 5) in which she made a 331-yard tee shot the day before, and was in high spirits with consecutive birdies in the 4th, 5th, and 6th holes.

Whereas she cut 4 shots in the first half, she could not cut more with one birdie and one bogey in the second half, but she overpowered other pro players by making a 359-yard shot in the 17th hole (par 5). The lead of the tournament Kiyosi Murota with 11 under par at 133 laughed by saying “It is unfair, as she is much taller than me.”

Meanwhile, she listed her name as a member of the national team for the Curtis Cup, an amateur golf tournament of the U.K. and the U.S. that the USGA announced the day before.

By this, she has the honor of participating in the tournament as the youngest player since 1972, as she is turning 15 this coming October. Laura Bo, who participated in the Curtis Cup at age 16 in 1972, held the former record.

In response to a statement that she is too young to be up to playing as a member of national team, the USGA said, “Although she is 14, she is different. She already plays golf around the world, and there is no reason to think she is too young.”

Jane Park (age 17), a winner of the semifinals of the U.S. women amateur championships of the last year, was also selected as a national member. The Curtis Cup, held every two years, will take place in the U.K. between June 13 and 14.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com