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Wie's windy 75 not great, but not worst

By Associated Press
Published January 14, 2005

HONOLULU - After scrambling to salvage 5-over 75, Michelle Wie plopped down in a chair and playfully stuck out her bottom lip as if she had just been scolded.

The 15-year-old quickly found one positive note from a tough time Thursday in the Sony Open.

"At least I'm not in last place," she said.

Wie was better than 15 men on a blustery day at Waialae Country Club, but she was nine shots behind Stewart Cink, Brett Quigley, Tom Byrum and Hank Kuehne, who shot 66 for a share of the lead.

Her dream is to become the first female to make the cut since Babe Zaharias in the 1945 Tucson Open, and the odds are no longer in her favor.

"I think if I shoot under par tomorrow, if I end up at like 1 over par, maybe I'll make it," Wie said. "But I'm definitely going to go for under par."

She didn't get much help when the rare Kona wind, which gusted up to 25 mph, calmed slightly in the afternoon to stabilize the scoring. Scoring was 11/2 strokes higher than last year.

Wie wound up in a tie for 120th (she was 105th last year after one round), and was four shots below the projected cut.

But she wasn't the only one who struggled in the wind.

Two-time defending champion Ernie Els had to birdie the last hole for 71, his first round over par in the 17 rounds he has played at Waialae. Vijay Singh was hanging around the early leaders on the strength of an eagle at No. 9, but he took a sloppy bogey on the par-5 18th for 69.

"It was hard hitting every shot - the drive, approach shot was difficult," Singh said. "It's tough for the boys over here, you know? Going to be tough for a girl here, too."

The comeback of the day belonged to Retief Goosen, who hit his first two tees shots out of bounds, made 9 on the first hole and played the rest of the way 3 under for 72.

Wie opened with 72 last year and followed with 68 - the lowest score ever by a female competing on a men's tour - to miss the cut by one.

Given the conditions, her 75 wasn't that bad. And she hit several shots she didn't have last year, such as a knockdown driver to keep the ball low into a wind that caused palm trees to sway.

"I was very impressed, all the different shots she was playing," said Matt Davidson, a Q-school grad who shot 77 in his PGA Tour debut playing in front of some 3,000 people, enough to line every fairway from tee-to-green, standing six-deep behind the ninth green when Davidson, Brett Wetterich (70) and Wie finished the round.

[Last modified January 14, 2005, 00:31:20]


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