Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Michelle Wie missed a par putt yesterday at the men's U.S. Amateur Public Links in Lebanon, Ohio. She shot a 2-over 72 yesterday to advance.

Wie able to advance
in men’s tourney

She survives the cut to move
on to match play, with a spot
in The Masters at stake

» 4 isle golfers advance

LEBANON, Ohio » Michelle Wie bounced back with a 2-over 72 in the final round of stroke play at the U.S. Amateur Public Links yesterday, good enough to secure a spot in the match-play portion of the championship.

"Match play is a lot more intense," she said after completing the 36 holes of medal play in 8-over 148.

Wie is playing in the men's APL because the winner is traditionally invited to play at The Masters. The first female to qualify for a men's U.S. Golf Association championship, the 15-year-old Wie shot a 76 in Monday's first round.

The top 64 in stroke play moved on to match play, which culminates with a 36-hole final Saturday.

Wie's score was above the cut line when she finished, but scores went up in the afternoon and she ended up tied for 49th.

She will play Will Claxton, a quarterfinalist a year ago, in her first-round match this morning. The 23-year-old Claxton, a recent graduate of Auburn, is from Swainsboro, Ga.

"I've obviously seen her play on TV," Claxton said. "I'm just going to try to treat her like any other player and things will take care of themselves. I won't be ashamed to lose to her, and I'm not afraid to play her."

For the second day in a row, a huge gallery cheered every one of Wie's shots. About 300 people, including Wie's parents, stuck with her for most of her round. Numerous USGA officials and two deputy sheriffs attempted to clear the way for Wie and her fellow players.

Not everyone was a Wie fan, however.

"I don't think she should be here," said Danny Green, who tied for second in medal play after matching the tournament low with a 65 for a 2-under 138. "I think she should play in the women's tournaments because they don't let the men play in women's tournaments. I just don't agree with that, but it's not my call. She qualified and she is going by the rules. She's here and she is a great player. I've got nothing against that."

Wie responded, "I don't really care what they think because I actually qualified for this event. So I feel I belong here. I'm not looking for 100 percent support. I know there are going to be people against me. I'm not going to stop just for them."

The low medalist was Anthony Kim, who shot rounds of 71 and 65 for 4-under 136, a dozen shots better than Wie. Kim is a two-time All-American who will be a junior at Oklahoma this fall.

Green, playing in his 13th APL, was tied for second with Iowa State junior Rodney Hamblin Jr. (70-68) and 16-year-old Sihwan Kim (69-69), the reigning U.S. Junior Amateur champion.

Wie began the day tied for 84th in the 156-player field.

Starting on the 10th tee at Shaker Run Golf Club, she bogeyed three of four holes during one span early in her round.

"I wasn't feeling very good about my game," she said. "I made a couple of stupid errors here and there. I refocused after that."

She countered by birdieing three holes in a row at holes 17, 18 and 1. She was 3-over for those same holes the day before.

"I learned a lot from yesterday," she said. "The back nine was still fresh in my mind when I played this morning, and that helped a lot."

She had double-bogeyed the 17th on Monday but birdied it with a two-putt from 60 feet after reaching the par-5 hole with a drive and 4 iron.

"I should get the most improved award from yesterday," she said.

But much as she had done the day before, when she was even-par through 10 holes and then played the last eight in 6 over, she made costly mistakes on the final nine.

She was even for the day through 11 holes, but then bogeyed three of the next five holes, barely missing a 9-foot birdie putt on the closing hole.

One spectator near the green was wearing a homemade T-shirt with the words "Michelle Who?" on it.

Playing partner Ed McDugle, who struggled to an 80 for a 158 to miss match play, said there was a simple solution for those who don't want Wie to play golf with the men.

"She teed it up with the men and if the men don't like it they should have beat her," he said.


4 Hawaii golfers
advance to match play

Star-Bulletin staff

Four of the five Hawaii entrants in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship advanced to the match-play portion of the tournament.

Along with Michelle Wie, Jacob Low of Hilo and Sean Maekawa of Pa'auilo made the cut at 8-over 149 after two rounds of stroke play and were part of a nine-way tie for 49th place. Royden Heirakuji of Makawao survived a playoff to earn one of the last berths in the field of 64, as well.

Wie is scheduled to play Will Claxton at 5:18 Hawaii time. Maekawa plays Zack Byrd (141) of Calabash, N.C., at 4:42 a.m. Heirakuji faces Sihwan Kim (138), the reigning U.S. Junior Amateur champion, of Fullerton, Calif., at 5:36. Low tees off against Garrett Jones (141), a first-round co-leader, of Rewey, Wis., at 5:54.

Low was 2 over after the first round and carded a 76 yesterday to stay above the cut line. He had five bogeys and one birdie on the front nine, and was 2 over on the back.

"The main thing these last two days was to get into match play," Low said. "So it's a lot different because you're just playing one-on-one as opposed to playing the whole field.

"Sean and I were talking about it and when we went to the dinner they said there were 5,000 entrants and only 156 made it this far, and now we've made it to the top 64. That's a pretty good accomplishment right there," Low added.

Maekawa began the day a stroke behind Low and posted a 5-over 75. Heirakuji shot a 73 yesterday for a two-day total of 149, and survived a 10-player playoff for the final seven spots in the match-play field.

Jonathan Ota of Lihue missed the cut at 154.

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