Wie looks ahead to match-play tourney
The No. 2 seed faces Hannemann in the opening round
GLADSTONE, N.J. » Michelle Wie prepared for the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship with a quiet round of golf. Annika Sorenstam stayed away from the course a day after winning her third U.S. Women's Open title.
With little fanfare on the nearly spectator-free Hamilton Farm course, the 16-year-old Wie got her first look at the hilly layout yesterday, playing a morning practice round in hazy, humid conditions that gave way to an afternoon thunderstorm.
"I came here yesterday. Unfortunately, I was too tired to go out and play," Wie said. "I played 18 this morning and the golf course is in absolutely perfect shape. The fairways are like carpet and the greens are like absolutely perfect."
Coming off a third-place tie in Rhode Island in the Women's Open, the second-seeded Wie will open play tomorrow against 63rd-seeded Candy Hannemann.
"I don't really look at the name of the player that I'm playing," Wie said. "You can't really control what your opponent does. ... All I can do is prepare myself for Thursday and play the hardest I can and see what happens."
The top-seeded Sorenstam took the day off to rest after beating Pat Hurst by four strokes Monday in an 18-hole playoff in the Women's Open.
The Swedish star, a quarterfinalist last year at Hamilton Farm, will play in the pro-am round today before facing No. 64 Virada Nirapathpongporn tomorrow.
"Maybe not the preparation I had in mind for such a major tournament, but this was the week I had in my mind," Sorenstam said Monday in Newport.
Since failing to qualify for the U.S. Open a month ago at nearby Canoe Brook, Wie finished two strokes out of playoffs in the LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open. In the first major of the year, she was a shot out of a playoff in the Kraft Nabisco.
"I feel like I'm getting really close," Wie said. "My game feels very solid."
She's winless in 29 LPGA Tour starts, the first 24 as an amateur.
"I know there are people out there critiquing me, saying I haven't won or blah, blah, blah, but I don't really care about that kind of stuff," she said. "I mean, I'm not here to make it easy for myself. I'm not here to put myself higher than I am. I'm just here to play as well as I can, and if I'm going to win, then I'm going to win."
The long-hitting teenager hopes to take advantage of Hamilton Farm's many wide, forgiving fairways that favor her powerful game.
"It's a lot of driver-wedge, driver-wedge, so if I can tune in on my wedges, I'll do well," said Wie, set to play next week in the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic. "This week is going to be fun. My first time playing match play against LPGA Tour players. I think it'll be very interesting."
Lorena Ochoa is seeded third, followed by Karrie Webb and Paula Creamer.
Ochoa will open against No. 62 Il Mi Chung, Webb will face Nancy Scranton, and Creamer will play Miriam Nagl.
Other first-round matchups include: No. 13 Hurst vs. Reilley Rankin; No. 8 Juli Inkster vs. Tina Barrett; No. 12 Morgan Pressel vs. Sarah Lee, and No. 18 Natalie Gulbis vs. Lorie Kane.
Defending champion Marisa Baena, seeded 37th, will play Wendy Ward in the first round. Baena won the inaugural event last season for her first LPGA Tour title, beating Meena Lee 1-up in the final.