SONY OPEN IN HAWAII
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Michelle Wie reacted yesterday after missing a putt during the opening round at the Sony Open, where she shot 9 over par.
Rough first day for Wie
The hometown star disappoints fans from start to finish, leaving all wishing for a miracle today
AFTER a first round at the Sony Open yesterday distinctly lacking in stardust, Michelle Wie gave herself a magic number for today's 18 holes.
And it would truly take something magical to attain it. Harry Potter-type magic.
Roger Maris passed Babe Ruth with 61 home runs 45 years ago. That's what Wie figured she needed to shoot today to catch her Babe -- Zaharias, the last woman to make a PGA men's cut, fittingly, 61 years ago.
Even if Wie could somehow fashion a 9 under par today at Waialae Country Club, there is no guarantee she would make it to the weekend after yesterday's disastrous 9-over 79 in her pro debut at her home course.
Although not bad for a high school junior, it is the kind of round that quickly turns other rookie pros into insurance salesmen. Wie has time on her side at just 16 years old, but she might be tried as an adult in the court of public opinion because of the $10 million in endorsement deals she got last fall from Sony and Nike.
Indeed, the record of yesterday's round is something Team Wie would like to have sealed under juvenile protection guidelines.
But it is out there for all to see, and the local fans suffered along with the prodigy. A gallery of several hundred tried to will her bogeys to pars and pars to birdies.
She missed fairways and greens but hit bunkers and scattered spectators.
One of the few bright spots was Wie's sometimes skillful play out of sand traps -- but she had way too many opportunities to display it. This day at the beach included eight trips to the sand, including bunker to bunker around the green at No. 15.
Wie has dealt with frustration and disappointment on the golf course before, and more than her share recently. Since turning pro last fall, she has been DQ'd, missed a cut and shot a 9-over round in her backyard with the entire golf world watching.
"Today it was like, wow, it's like I can't believe I'm doing this bad," she said. "The U.S. Open was also like that."
This was different from the late meltdown at the LPGA major and the Samsung DQ. This time, Wie did not play well from beginning to end, and she did it in her back yard.
She made the turn at 7-over with three double bogeys, struggling with tradewinds in the 25 mph range. Daunting, but nothing she had not experienced before.
Often, the afternoon wind is worse, and that is when Wie and playing partners Chris Couch and Camilo Villegas were scheduled to start their rounds today.
She said the gusts had her second-guessing herself, even over short putts.
"I think that I have to trust myself, even if the wind is blowing completely sideways," Wie said. "I think for (today) I'm just going to trust myself."
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Despite her tough day, Michelle Wie attracted a large gallery yesterday at the Sony Open in Waialae.
Even her lone birdie was a struggle. Her 281-yard drive on the par-4 423-yard No. 3 (her 12th hole of the day) found the right rough. She left herself with a 16-foot putt that teasingly rattled around the hole before finally going in. Wie's reaction was one of relief as much as joy.
"It was so darned hard out there with the wind and everything," she said. "I guess that was the harder part for me. It's not like you hit wedge into every hole. You're going into the green with 4-iron and 3-iron, so it was tough for me to get back on track."
But when Wie's game is on, she often leaves herself scoring opportunities with the long irons, like she did last summer during a birdie binge at the John Deere Classic.
That put her in range of making the cut and history, with momentum and the Quad Cities crowd of Midwesterners fully behind her, like her hometown fans yesterday just waiting for a spark.
But she lost her battle with the cut line by two strokes and got the weekend off.
Wie also came close two years ago at Waialae, short of advancing by just a stroke.
She also missed by one swing yesterday. But this time it was for last place. At 6 p.m., about five hours after Wie's round ended, there was finally some good news for her. Jimmy Walker finished his day with a 10-over par 80.
Michelle Wie had a disastrous first round at yesterday's Sony Open. Here is how she fared at the Waialae Country Club: