High winds blow Wie and Rose off course in Honolulu
Saturday 14 January 2006
Michelle Wie was next to last after an opening nine-over-par 79 at the US Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu on Thursday. It left her 14 strokes behind the leader Rory Sabbatini and probably requiring a 64 to survive the halfway cut - her goal since she started playing against men two years ago.
Britain's Justin Rose also faces a fight to make it through to the weekend after his first round of the new season began promisingly, turning in one under, before he had five bogeys in the next eight holes to fall away to a 74.
Wie missed the cut by just one shot on her debut in the event at the age of 14 - she shot 72 and 68 then - and the spotlight has been on her since to see whether she can emulate Babe Zaharias, the last woman to play all four rounds on the US Tour back in 1945. After failing by seven a year ago and finishing two outside the mark at the John Deere Classic in July her latest attempt became a struggle from early on.
On a day of gusting crosswinds at the Waialae Country Club, Wie three-putted the 12th (her third) and then ran up three double-bogeys to turn in a seven-over 42. She made her only birdie on a 15-foot putt at No 3, but did not give herself many chances the rest of the way. From the middle of the eighth fairway, her approach sailed long and wound up hitting the notepad of her agent, Ross Berlin, leaving an indentation on the leather pad. She ended her round in a tie for last place with John Cook.
Wie said: "It was not my day. But just playing with these guys out here... I didn't really feel any pressure. The hard part for me was I have not played in a tournament since November."
Wie, second and third in two of the women's majors last season, has played six times against men in all and has yet to make a cut. Her third place at the Women's British Open last year has entitled her to enter the qualifying for the previously male-only Open championship at Hoylake in July, but no form has been received from her by the Royal and Ancient Club yet.
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