Michelle Wie Wins 2014 United States Women’s Open

Michelle Wie (click to enlarge)

Michelle Wie, Major Champion. Michelle Wie, United States Women’s Open Champion. For her legions of fans (including me), those are words we have longed to hear. In a week where 11-year old Lucy Li charmed the golf world, it was a former child prodigy, Michelle Wie, who fulfilled the promise and potential many saw in her as a 13-year old Women’s Amateur Public Links winner. From 2003 through 2006, ages 13 to 16 for Michelle, she dazzled with her precocious skill and power, finishing in the top 10 of Majors 7 times, 6 times in the top 5 and runner-up at the 2005 LPGA Championship. She played against men on the PGA tour, a move not universally beloved. In fact, I’d surmise that move resulted in a negative backlash. When she eventually joined the LPGA tour, there were wins, at the 2009 Lorena Ochoa Invitational and 2010 CN Canadian Open. However, there were a lot of ups and downs as well. The young girl with 7 top tens in Majors through 2006 only earned 2 more from 2007 through 2013. Her results dipped dramatically, to the point that there were whispers that she had lost her love for the game. At 24 years old, were Michelle Wie’s best days behind her? Then came the 2014 season.

Michelle Wie (click to enlarge)

I should back up a little before I get to 2014. Michelle had really started to play better towards the end of 2013. Her putting especially was showing signs of improvement. Her self-created tabletop putting stance, which raised a few eyebrows to be kind, was beginning to show benefits. She hit the ground running in 2014. 3 of her first 6 events resulted in top 10s, including a runner-up at the year’s first Major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, and didn’t finish lower that 16th in any of those starts. Then she put it all together in her home state of Hawaii, winning her 3rd LPGA title at the 2014 Lotte Championship presented by J Golf. Suddenly, the golf world was buzzing about Michelle again. She wouldn’t let the accolades distract her from her purpose, as she followed Lotte by scoring 4 more top 10s in her next 5 events. Then came the United States Women’s Open at Pinehurst #2.

Michelle Wie (click to enlarge)

With back to back 68s to open the Championship, Michelle vaulted to the top of the leaderboard. But it was her 3rd round that made me think she could win. It was actually her worst round of the USWO, a 2-over 72 (par is 70 for this event) where she fell apart a bit on the back 9. It was her calm demeanor when things were going sideways that made me think if she could just stay near the top of the leaderboard, she would play the kind of round she will need to win on Sunday. She managed to finish the third round tied for the lead with Amy Yang. The Michelle that was struggling the past few years could have, and probably would have, been shaken during the third round to the point of posting a huge number, maybe 76 or even higher. She kept it together to give herself a chance. Then came the final round.

Michelle Wie (click to enlarge)

Starting the day tied at 2-under with Amy Yang, Michelle stumbled out of the gate by lipping out a short birdie putt. Amy also bogeyed the first hole, going on to have 3 bogeys, 1 double bogey and 1 birdie through the first 7 holes. By the 8th hole, Yang wasn’t a factor. World #1 Stacy Lewis was. After 2 bogeys and 1 birdie through 4 holes, Lewis showed why she is the best women’s golfer in the world, with 5 birdies and zero bogeys from 6 through 13. Her putting, which had let her down in round 3, was sharp in round 4. Until she gave 2 shots back on 14 and 16 with bogeys. However, Michelle was having her ups and downs as well. She reached the par 5 10th in 2 shots. She would drop in the biggest putt of her career so far with an eagle to give her some breathing room at 3-under. She was cruising along with stingers off the tee and solid putting until the par 4 16th hole. She found the sand with her tee shot. Instead of laying up, she played aggressively. Unfortunately for her, she found a shrub in the front side bunker. It took some time just to find her ball. She ended up taking a shot penalty with an unplayable lie. After her drop, she played what counted as her 4th shot to the middle of the green. She ended up 2-putting for double bogey. It was actually not the easiest putt to save double bogey, but the tabletop technique paid dividends when she needed it to do so. In some ways, the double bogey putt was almost as important as the eagle putt on 10. She was still at 1-under, but the pressure was on. Stacy, at 2-over, needed a birdie-birdie finish on 17 and 18 to get to even and have a chance. They were sizable putts, not easy at all. Stacy made them look easy with bulls-eye accuracy. Suddenly, Michelle was on the 17th tee at 1-under and Stacy was keeping warm with practice shots on the range anticipating a possible playoff at even par. Wie would hit the green with her tee shot on the par 3 17th. She then hit her new biggest putt ever with a long birdie bomb that had Michelle fist pumping and the crowd cheering. With a 2 shot cushion on 18, she would par the hole for the finest moment in her golf career. At 24 years old, the same age Annika Sorenstam won her first Major, the child prodigy came of age.

Michelle Wie (click to enlarge)

Congratulations to all the players who shined on Pinehurst #2 this week. Congratulations to Brooke Henderson for finishing as low amateur. Congratulations to Juli Inkster for turning back the clock and showing her Hall of Fame skill and will. Congratulations to my favorite JLPGA player, Sakura Yokomine, for showing the great play you can find on the Japanese tour. Congratulations to Stephanie Meadow for nearly pulling a shocker in her first professional tournament. Congratulations to Stacy Lewis who continues to seemingly always be near the top of the leaderboard, showing the brilliant play that has carried her to #1 in the world. And the biggest congratulations of all to Michelle Wie. Her path has sometimes been rocky. The burden of expectation has been great. But now she’s Michelle Wie, Major Champion. She’s Michelle Wie, 2014 US Women’s Open champion. That’s sure sounds good to me.

 

ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE

1 MICHELLE WIE (-2)

 

with her mom

with caddie, Duncan French

with silver medalist, Stacy Lewis

with low amateur Brooke Henderson and silver medalist Stacy Lewis

 

Pos Name 1 2 3 4 Today Thru Total Strokes
1 Michelle Wie 68 68 72 70 E F -2 278
2 Stacy Lewis 67 73 74 66 -4 F E 280
3 Stephanie Meadow 71 72 69 69 -1 F +1 281
4 Amy Yang 71 69 68 74 +4 F +2 282
T5 Meena Lee 72 73 70 68 -2 F +3 283
T5 So Yeon Ryu 69 74 70 70 E F +3 283
T7 Lexi Thompson 71 68 74 71 +1 F +4 284
T7 Sakura Yokomine 74 68 71 71 +1 F +4 284
T7 Pornanong Phatlum 71 73 69 71 +1 F +4 284
T10 Catriona Matthew 75 69 75 66 -4 F +5 285
T10 Jenny Shin 74 70 73 68 -2 F +5 285
T10 Brooke Henderson 71 73 72 69 -1 F +5 285
T13 Yueer Cindy Feng 73 71 71 71 +1 F +6 286
T13 Na Yeon Choi 71 70 71 74 +4 F +6 286
T15 Lydia Ko 76 71 71 69 -1 F +7 287
T15 Shanshan Feng 77 70 70 70 E F +7 287
T15 Brittany Lincicome 77 70 69 71 +1 F +7 287
T15 Hee Young Park 73 73 69 72 +2 F +7 287
T15 Paula Creamer 70 72 72 73 +3 F +7 287
T15 Chella Choi 75 70 69 73 +3 F +7 287
T15 Juli Inkster 71 75 66 75 +5 F +7 287
T22 Julieta Granada 75 71 74 68 -2 F +8 288
T22 Sandra Gal 74 72 73 69 -1 F +8 288
T22 Karine Icher 76 72 71 69 -1 F +8 288
T22 Azahara Munoz 73 71 74 70 E F +8 288
T22 Brittany Lang 73 75 69 71 +1 F +8 288
T22 Minjee Lee 69 71 72 76 +6 F +8 288
T28 Eun-Hee Ji 71 75 75 68 -2 F +9 289
T28 Caroline Masson 72 75 73 69 -1 F +9 289
T30 Candie Kung 71 76 75 68 -2 F +10 290
T30 Angela Stanford 71 72 77 70 E F +10 290
T30 I.K. Kim 71 74 75 70 E F +10 290
T30 Mariajo Uribe 72 70 76 72 +2 F +10 290
T30 Karrie Webb 70 73 70 77 +7 F +10 290
T35 Yani Tseng 77 71 74 69 -1 F +11 291
T35 Rikako Morita 73 75 73 70 E F +11 291
T35 Ha Na Jang 76 73 70 72 +2 F +11 291
T38 Jennifer Song 74 72 77 69 -1 F +12 292
T38 Caroline Hedwall 73 76 72 71 +1 F +12 292
T38 Mina Harigae 71 74 74 73 +3 F +12 292
T38 Se Ri Pak 76 69 74 73 +3 F +12 292
T38 Jee Young Lee 73 73 73 73 +3 F +12 292
T43 Lee-Anne Pace 76 73 73 71 +1 F +13 293
T43 Hee Kyung Bae 77 71 73 72 +2 F +13 293
T43 Inbee Park 76 71 73 73 +3 F +13 293
T46 Nikki Campbell 74 75 76 69 -1 F +14 294
T46 Beatriz Recari 73 74 72 75 +5 F +14 294
T46 Sei-Young Kim 72 75 72 75 +5 F +14 294
T49 Giulia Sergas 77 72 74 72 +2 F +15 295
T49 Moriya Jutanugarn 72 77 74 72 +2 F +15 295
T49 Laura Diaz 75 72 75 73 +3 F +15 295
T49 Jennifer Johnson 75 74 72 74 +4 F +15 295
T49 Katherine Kirk 69 76 74 76 +6 F +15 295
54 So-Young Jang 75 72 77 72 +2 F +16 296
T55 Belen Mozo 78 70 73 76 +6 F +17 297
T55 Misuzu Narita 76 70 73 78 +8 F +17 297
T57 Jodi Ewart Shadoff 76 71 78 73 +3 F +18 298
T57 Ashley Knoll 75 74 73 76 +6 F +18 298
T59 Mathilda Cappeliez 76 70 78 75 +5 F +19 299
T59 Sue Kim 71 73 79 76 +6 F +19 299
T59 Danielle Kang 75 71 76 77 +7 F +19 299
T59 Haeji Kang 74 75 72 78 +8 F +19 299
T63 Emma Talley 75 73 78 74 +4 F +20 300
T63 Carlota Ciganda 75 72 78 75 +5 F +20 300
T63 Gerina Piller 72 72 80 76 +6 F +20 300
T63 Pernilla Lindberg 72 77 73 78 +8 F +20 300
67 Ilhee Lee 73 76 77 75 +5 F +21 301
68 Chisato Hashimoto 73 76 76 77 +7 F +22 302
T69 Dori Carter 72 77 77 77 +7 F +23 303
T69 Andrea Lee 79 70 77 77 +7 F +23 303
71 Sandra Changkija 76 73 75 81 +11 F +25 305
T72 Katie Burnett 76 74 MC MC 150
T72 Jacqui Concolino 77 73 MC MC 150
T72 Cristie Kerr 76 74 MC MC 150
T72 Stephanie Na 74 76 MC MC 150
T72 Kris Tamulis 73 77 MC MC 150
T72 Alison Walshe 78 72 MC MC 150
T72 Ayaka Watanabe 78 72 MC MC 150
T79 Chie Arimura 76 75 MC MC 151
T79 Holly Clyburn 79 72 MC MC 151
T79 Maria Hernandez 72 79 MC MC 151
T79 Jessica Korda 79 72 MC MC 151
T79 Tzu-Chi Lin 77 74 MC MC 151
T79 Anna Nordqvist 73 78 MC MC 151
T79 Sadena Parks 76 75 MC MC 151
T79 Dewi Claire Schreefel 72 79 MC MC 151
T79 Ashleigh Simon 77 74 MC MC 151
T88 Rebecca Artis 71 81 MC MC 152
T88 Christel Boeljon 71 81 MC MC 152
T88 Nicole Castrale 76 76 MC MC 152
T88 Paula Hurtado 76 76 MC MC 152
T88 Birdie Kim 79 73 MC MC 152
T88 Suzann Pettersen 78 74 MC MC 152
T88 Morgan Pressel 77 75 MC MC 152
T88 Ayako Uehara 76 76 MC MC 152
T88 Jessica Wallace 74 78 MC MC 152
T88 Yumiko Yoshida 79 73 MC MC 152
T98 Lala Anai 78 75 MC MC 153
T98 Karlin Beck 78 75 MC MC 153
T98 Amy Boulden 75 78 MC MC 153
T98 Celine Boutier 77 76 MC MC 153
T98 Eri Joma 80 73 MC MC 153
T98 Ai Miyazato 77 76 MC MC 153
T98 Catherine O’Donnell 78 75 MC MC 153
T98 Cheyenne Woods 78 75 MC MC 153
T106 Yoo Lim Choi 76 78 MC MC 154
T106 Janie Jackson 81 73 MC MC 154
T106 Megan Khang 75 79 MC MC 154
T106 Lisa McCloskey 77 77 MC MC 154
T106 Jennifer Rosales 78 76 MC MC 154
T106 Carleigh Silvers 74 80 MC MC 154
T106 Sarah Jane Smith 76 78 MC MC 154
T106 Marissa Steen 73 81 MC MC 154
T106 Sun Young Yoo 76 78 MC MC 154
T115 Nicole Garcia 78 77 MC MC 155
T115 Rebecca Lee-Bentham 78 77 MC MC 155
T115 Ally McDonald 78 77 MC MC 155
T115 Gwladys Nocera 80 75 MC MC 155
T115 Kelly Tan 76 79 MC MC 155
T120 Narangyi Bae 79 77 MC MC 156
T120 Marissa Chow 76 80 MC MC 156
T120 Laura Davies 82 74 MC MC 156
T120 Brianna Do 80 76 MC MC 156
T120 Natalie Gulbis 79 77 MC MC 156
T120 Rebecca Hudson 79 77 MC MC 156
T120 Lucy Li 78 78 MC MC 156
T120 Teresa Lu 75 81 MC MC 156
T120 Brooke Pancake 75 81 MC MC 156
T120 Kathleen Scavo 83 73 MC MC 156
T120 Elizabeth Tong 76 80 MC MC 156
T131 Jaye Marie Green 77 80 MC MC 157
T131 Wei-Ling Hsu 81 76 MC MC 157
T131 Madison Kerley 78 79 MC MC 157
T131 Paige Lee 73 84 MC MC 157
T131 Kristy McPherson 80 77 MC MC 157
T131 Mika Miyazato 81 76 MC MC 157
T131 Erica Popson 79 78 MC MC 157
T131 Caroline Powers 76 81 MC MC 157
T139 Samantha Gotcher 76 82 MC MC 158
T139 Sierra Sims 79 79 MC MC 158
T141 Jordan Ferriera 81 78 MC MC 159
T141 Stacey Keating 84 75 MC MC 159
T141 Yuting Shi 80 79 MC MC 159
T141 Bailey Tardy 81 78 MC MC 159
T141 Lucy Williams 83 76 MC MC 159
T146 Jasi Acharya 85 75 MC MC 160
T146 Irene Coe 81 79 MC MC 160
T146 Mo Martin 86 74 MC MC 160
149 Jessica Porvasnik 79 82 MC MC 161
150 Hannah Pietila 81 83 MC MC 164
151 Emily Penttila 84 82 MC MC 166
152 Marta Silva 82 85 MC MC 167
153 Kelsey MacDonald 86 82 MC MC 168
154 Xyra Suyetsugu 88 83 MC MC 171

 

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