Keeping busy keeps Wie rolling at HSBC
GLADSTONE, N.J. » Michelle Wie is thriving on competition.
Playing her fourth event in five weeks, the 16-year-old Wie kept pace with top-seeded Annika Sorenstam yesterday in the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship, beating charismatic friend Christina Kim in the second round.
"I like this a lot better," said Wie, coming off a third-place tie in the U.S. Women's Open. "It's a lot harder to play one tournament, have more than a month off and then play in another. I really look forward to the summer, where I have a lot of tournaments, where I can play almost every week."
The second-seeded Wie overpowered Kim 3 and 2 in an entertaining match.
"Obviously, we're pretty close and it's tough to put that out of your mind," Wie said. "You just have to think that she's just another opponent and try your hardest."
Sorenstam beat Heather Young, also 3 and 2.
The Swedish star began the week with a four-shot playoff victory over Pat Hurst on Monday in the Women's Open, then beat Virada Nirapathpongporn 3 and 2 on Thursday.
"I'm on such a high that I'm not even thinking that I should be tired," Sorenstam said. "I'm just looking forward to coming back tomorrow."
Sorenstam advanced to a third-round match against former Duke star Brittany Lang, while Wie will face LPGA Championship winner Se Ri Pak. Lang beat Seon-Hwa Lee 3 and 2, and Pak edged Lorie Kane 1-up.
The Wie-Pak winner this morning will play the Brittany Lincicome-Kyeong Bae winner in the afternoon quarterfinals.
Wie, making her 30th LPGA Tour start in a bid to win her first pro title, was 5 under for 16 holes yesterday. She won all four par 5s with birdies, finished with seven birdies and had two three-putt bogeys.
Since failing to qualify for the U.S. Open a month ago at Canoe Brook, she finished two strokes out of playoffs in the LPGA Championship and Women's Open.
"I feel like I'm playing very solidly," Wie said. "Obviously, tomorrow is a whole other day and you never know what might happen when you wake up."
About 400 people followed her on the hilly Hamilton Farm course, watching her outdrive Kim by 40-50 yards throughout the match.
"I wasn't able to capitalize on the par 5s," Kim said. "I gave myself a lot of opportunities, but it just didn't pan out."
In the bottom half of the upper bracket, fifth-seeded Paula Creamer beat defending champion Marisa Baena 5 and 3 to set up a third-round match against Morgan Pressel, a 2-and-1 winner over 2005 runner-up Meena Lee.
"Unfortunately, I did not hit the ball very well today and Paula played unbelievable," Baena said.
The 19-year-old Creamer and 18-year-old Pressel played each other many times in match play in their junior careers.
"We've known each other for a very long time," Pressel said. "I think it's going to be a very good match. We're going to have to make lots of birdies, that's for sure."