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Michelle Wie Looking Ahead to SK Open

Posted May. 03, 2006 03:00,   


Showered with attention since her arrival on April 29, Michelle Wie engaged in a last minute checkup before the start of SK Open, which will be held on May 4 at the Incheon Sky72 Golf Club (par 72).

Undaunted after seven dropouts-

To date, Michelle Wie has entered a total of seven official men’s tourneys, all of which she dropped out early. In the first men’s game she entered, Wie left with a score far short of the cut; then in 2004 at the Sony Open, she leveled her chances by dropping out by a mere stroke. Last year’s John Deer Classic and Casio World Open were two other male-dominated competitions that she fell one stroke short of qualifying in. Wie has been the runner-up in many LPGA tour events, but never the winner. Similarly, in men’s golf events, she has not had much visible success to date. So, she’s desperately eager to win this time.

How the course fares-

The 7,111-yard distance of the course is on the shorter side for a men’s event. The Maekyung Open of last week was held at the south course of Lakeside Country Club which extended 7,405 yards. Although Wie is a long hitter, a shorter distance would be more preferable considering her all-male competitors. But the par 3 holes with 200 yards stretches do not look so green. The grass, unlike in most local golf courses, is American, which Wie will not have hard time adjusting to. The hardest thing to for Wie to deal with will be the gusty wind blowing in from the West Sea. Her tee off time is 6:59 a.m. when the wind gets a bit milder.

The competitors-

Michelle Wie will be playing the first and second rounds with rising star Kim Dae-seop (25, SK Telecom) and Asian tour veteran Terry Pilkadaris (Australia). Since his two Korea Open wins as an amateur in high school, Kim Dae-seop has tallied three victories in pro tours. “The course will be bustling with spectators and media on the game day. But how often does one get to play with the famous Michelle Wie? I would like to see how far she can really hit,” said Kim. The strongest candidates in the competition include last year’s champion Choi Kyung-ju (Nike Golf), Kang Wook-soon (Samsung Electronics), and Choi Kwang-su (Donga Pharmaceutical).

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com