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Friday, August 20, 2004



[ LPGA WENDY'S CHAMPIONSHIP ]


art
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Michelle Wie teed off on No. 17, her eighth hole of the day, during the first round of the Wendy's Championship for Children.


Wie unhappy with her play
in suspended first round


DUBLIN, Ohio » Kristi Albers turned her day around with one swing. Michelle Wie's round ended when she was barely halfway through.

Albers had a hole-in-one on the 17th and shot a 5-under 67 for a share of the lead with defending champion Hee-Won Han in the rain-delayed opening round of the Wendy's Championship for Children yesterday.

A violent storm rocked Tartan Fields Golf Club late in the day after half of the 144-player field had completed the first round. After a delay of 1 hour, 29 minutes, play resumed briefly before a second storm washed out the round.

The remaining 66 players will complete their rounds early today, with the second round set to follow.

The hard winds, heavy rain and lightning created chaos in the scoring. It took more than an hour after play was called off before the tournament leaders were officially confirmed.

Wie, the tall, long-hitting 14-year-old amateur with the effortless swing, was 3 over through 10 holes -- and was not happy about it.

She double-bogeyed her last hole, flying the green after a perfect drive. From weeds and rough behind the hole, she chipped back across the green, then chipped to 15 feet and two-putted for a 6.

Her father, B.J. Wie, said she would not speak with reporters until her first 18 holes were completed. She also declined to answer questions as she came into the clubhouse after being brought in by a cart.

Norway's Suzann Pettersen was a shot back of the co-leaders at 4 under through 17 holes.

Three players finished at 3-under 69 -- Nancy Scranton, almost 5 months pregnant with twins; Patricia Meunier-Lebouc and Dottie Pepper. Three others were 3 under before their rounds were halted -- 2002 Wendy's winner Mi Hyun Kim, Ji Yeon Lee and Lorie Kane.

Playing in the first group off the tee, Albers took advantage of mild conditions -- the wind picked up midday before the storm clouds came -- to post her lowest score of the year. She was even-par through her first seven holes when she pulled out a 9-iron on the 135-yard, par-3 17th, which slopes from an elevated tee with the green on the other side of a large pond.

"I hit it thin and I was saying, 'Get up! Get up!' and it hit on the front of the green and it rolled. It was dead on the hole and it just disappeared," said Albers, whose only tour victory came in the 1993 Sprint Classic. "I said to my playing partners, 'Please don't tell people how I just hit that shot.' It was a good miss."

Albers added three more birdies after the hole-in-one, including a 40-chip from the rough at the par-4 fifth hole.

Han was 5 under through 13 holes when play was suspended the first time. She came back to play three more holes, birdieing the 16th to regain a share of the lead. She faced a 3-foot putt for par on No. 8 when play was called off for the day.

Wie three-putted from the back fringe for a bogey at No. 14 and then dropped to 2 over when she three-putted from 18 feet at No. 16. She rolled in an 8-foot birdie putt at the par-3 17th to get to 1 over before running into problems on hole No. 1.


Wendy's Championship for Children
www.wendyschampionship.com

Ladies Professional Golf Association
www.lpga.com

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