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Michelle Wie’s First Pro Tournament

Posted October. 15, 2005 07:52,   


“Golf prodigy” Michelle Wie (Wie Sung-mi, 16) finished the first round of her professional debut in the LPGA Tour Samsung World Championship on October 14 at the Bighorn GC Canyon Course (par 72, 6634 yards) in Palm Desert, California (Total cash prize: $850,000).

Michelle Wie showed off her signature booming drives and captured four birdies, but her iron shots and putting faltered slightly later in the round, and she made two bogeys, finishing in a tie for 12th with 2-under 70.

Considering the fact that 20 of the world’s top players entered the tournament and that everyone’s attention was on her, she did well. Since this tournament does not cut players in the preliminary round, there is a lot of interest in whether Wie will shoot up to the top in the three remaining days.

“I was very nervous but I tried to concentrate on my game. I’m a little disappointed that I missed a few of my putts, but I can do better in the following days,” she said with a show of confidence.

Michelle Wie hit her drives an average 30 yards farther than fellow player Christie Kerr (USA). Her poise during risky situations, like at the third hole (par 5), was impressive. Her drive fell under a tree and it became impossible for her to make a regular right-handed shot. She took an unplayable (one-shot penalty) and escaped with par.

“I could have played it left-handed, but it was early in the round on the first day, so I thought I’d just take an unplayable. It turns out I was right,” she said.

Last year’s defending champion, Annika Sorenstam (Sweden), going after her fifth victory in this tournament, is leading the pack (8-under 64), with Park Hee-jeong (CJ) and Kerr tied for second place with 7-under 65.

Young-Sik Ahn ysahn@donga.com