9 on No. 9 derails Wie
Published 12:00 am Friday, June 27, 2008
By Doug Ferguson
EDINA, Minn. ó Michelle Wie climbed three steps onto a platform, preparing to explain her quintuple-bogey 9 on one hole and her 81 in the first round of the U.S. Womenís Open.
iThis is my execution platform,î she said with a grin.
Her performance at Interlachen wasnít that bad ó it just felt that way.
Wieís road to recovery took a nasty detour Thursday when she took seven shots to navigate the final 30 yards of the ninth hole, which took her from the middle of the pack toward the bottom of the leaderboard.
When she tapped in for a 9, she lightly banged the shaft of her putter against her head. Dazed, she stood to the side of the green muttering to herself. She never quite recovered, and she failed to break 80 for the second straight year in the Womenís Open.
iI had trouble counting how many strokes I had on that hole,î Wie said. iBut like I said, it was just one bad hole. And itís the U.S. Open. It will bite you in the butt.î
The 18-year-old player from Hawaii had to qualify for the Womenís Open for the first time since the eighth grade, and she finished second in her qualifier. That was sandwiched around a sixth-place finish in the Ladies German Open and a tie for 24th last week on the LPGA Tour, her best showing in nearly two years.
One hole changed everything.
Wie pulled her tee shot into the right rough, then tried to hit a low approach through the trees to an elevated green. The shot came up about 30 yards short in the rough, although the ball was sitting up, and Wie had a reasonable chance of saving par.
But her third shot created the problem. The low screamer scooted over the bowl-shaped green into thick grass, leaving her a steep, downhill chip that could get close only if it hit the pin.
iI was surprised it came out that way,î she said. iI didnít blade it all. It looked like I bladed it, but I hit behind the ball. It was weird.î
Instead of playing sideways and using some of the contours, she tried a flop shot that came up inches short of the fringe. She thought about inverting the blade of her putter for the fifth shot, but she putted it conventionally, and it hopped out quickly and rolled down the ridge and off the green. Her chip reached the top of the ridge, then trickled back to her feet.
Wieís seventh shot was a chip past the hole, then down the slope to 5 feet. But she missed the putt.
iI shouldnít have been there in the first place,î Wie said.
Trying to regain her composure, Wie had a 3-wood into the par-5 10th that took a hard hop and rolled through the green, denying her an easy chance at birdie. She dropped three more shots along the back nine until making birdie on the par-5 18th.