Wie hits worst round of year as challenge gets lost in sand
Michelle Wie embarked on her second year as a professional by matching her worst score of 2006, when she hit a 74 that included a quadruple-bogey eight in the first round of the Samsung World Championship here.
While Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa were tied for the lead at 67, Wie, who turned 17 on Wednesday, was struggling - nowhere more so than at the par-four 14th. Her ball was nestled against a rock the size of a baseball, with waist-high bushes all around. She took a free drop into the desert sand behind a small tree. That did not work. She tried again, advancing the ball into a thicket that left her no choice but to take a penalty drop.
If that was not enough, she had to hit her next shot off a cement cart path, just to get back to the fairway. "It was a really, really bad situation to be in," she said. "There was no bail-out."
Ochoa has four victories and five runner-up finishes this year, and she could all but secure the LPGA Tour player of the year title with victory here. Sorenstam is going for a record sixth victory in this tournament, and the 70th of her career. Wie is still trying to win her first title on the Tour, but despite her first-round tribulations she remains optimistic.
"My game is feeling really good," she said. "It's really close right now." And she did show a large measure of resilience. After a sloppy double-bogey on the 11th, she bounced back with an eagle on the par-five 12th by making a 60-foot putt from off the back of the green.
But her round came off the rails at the 14th. In hindsight, she would have been better off going back to the tee and hitting her third shot. At the time, she thought she could escape with her free drop into the desert sand. She did not realise that the wind was keeping branches out of her way; but the wind then died, and the branches were right back in front of her.
"I had to wait for the tree to blow back," she said. "[Then I thought] 'All right, the tree is out of my way, hit it!'"In her haste, she missed it all together.
Trailing Sorenstam and Ochoa by a shot were Lee Seon-Hwa, of South Korea, and the Swede Sophie Gustafson.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Sir Alex Ferguson reveals who he thinks is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove