Michelle Wie watched her tee shot head for the rough on No. 13. She saved par and finished with a 5-over 77.
The Hawaii teen opens the 84 Lumber 5 over, leaving little chance she will make the cut
FARMINGTON, Pa. » The sun finally poked through the clouds and chased away the rain of the past few days during yesterday's first round of the 84 Lumber Classic.
But there were few bright spots for Honolulu's Michelle Wie in the PGA Tour event.
She shot 5-over-par 77 yesterday on the Mystic Rock Golf Course at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. She was tied for 125th.
Wie said afterward she didn't feel as if she had played a 5-over round.
"I felt like I played really good," she said. "My iron play was fantastic. My driver was, aside from a couple missed shots, pretty good. From tee to green I played really well. My short game and putting let me down a couple -- I mean, every time."
She needed 34 putts during a round that included five bogeys and 13 pars.
"I think I could have easily shot under par," she said. "But it's just my putts didn't go in."
She played the four par-5s in even par.
Because she hits the ball so far, the par-5s usually represent birdie opportunities for her, although she got no roll on her drives because of the wet course.
And at 7,550 yards, it is the longest PGA Tour course she has played. It is long even for a big hitter such as Wie.
"I came into this golf course knowing that I would have 4- and 5-irons into most of the greens," she said. "And I think I have prepared myself."
This is Wie's sixth career start in a PGA event. She is playing on a sponsor's exemption, as she has the previous five. She has not made a cut.
The closest she has come was missing by one stroke at the 2004 Sony Open.
She needs a low round today to have a chance of playing this weekend.
She was asked afterward if she felt pressure to make the cut one of these times to perhaps justify her spot in PGA Tour events.
Wie said that wasn't the reason she wanted to make a cut.
"I want to make cuts because it's an achievement and it's a goal of mine," she said. "I'm not out here to justify anything."
She noted that her playing partners, Vance Veazey (72) and Matt Hansen (74) were very welcoming and nice to her.
"I felt really good," she said. "I had a really fun time playing today with them. I don't really feel any extra pressure just because I'm a girl out here."
Wie attracted large crowds throughout a round in which golfers played lift, clean and place because the course was saturated by overnight rain.
"I can't explain how good I felt on 17 when they (fans) chanted," she said. "It was pretty cool. I mean, it was amazing."
Her parents, B.J. and Bo, followed her around the course, as they always do, during a round that took 5 hours, 42 minutes.
Michelle Wie shook hands with playing partners Vance Veazey and Matt Hansen after yesterday's round.
Nicholas Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla. was the first-round leader, shooting 8-under 64 for a two-stroke lead over six players. Unofficial tournament host John Daly shot 78.
Defending champion Jason Gore finished at 73.
Wie and her playing partners had the final starting time of 1:39 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on the 10th tee of the demanding course in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania.
The Punahou School senior arrived in the staging area shortly before her tee time and got a round of applause from the crowd.
Her group waited its turn in a small green tent a short distance behind the tee until the threesome in front of them hit.
When Wie left the tent and started up the cart path, she received more applause.
Several fans shouted "Go, Michelle," including spectators standing on the deck of nearby Mulligan's, a bar-restaurant separated from the tee only by the cart path.
As she approached the tee, Wie got a hug from Maggie Hardy Magerko, president and owner of 84 Lumber and Nemacolin, who said, "Good luck, sweetheart."
Magerko is the daughter of tournament chairman Joe Hardy, founder and CEO of the lumber company, and founder of the resort.
Wie played the par-4 10th hole flawlessly.
Hitting third, she laced her tee shot down the left side of the fairway. Her drive was the shortest of her threesome.
As a large crowd watched along the right side of the fairway, Wie lofted her second shot onto the green, 14 feet past the hole. She two-putted for par.
Wie made par at the next two holes, then stumbled with three consecutive bogeys. She never was able to recover, although she gave herself some birdie chances.
"The three bogeys I made in a row wasn't because I shot bad," she said. "It wasn't because I was behind a tree or something like that. It was, you know, failure to get up and down. I felt very comfortable with my game today."
Wie had a golden opportunity to fashion a reversal of fortune with a very makeable 8-foot birdie putt at No. 17. It drifted left and she settled for par.
Wie was frustrated with her putting, but not because she felt she was hitting them poorly.
"It was very frustrating because I was hitting every putt on line, and about six, seven putts looked like they were going to go in the middle of the hole," she said. "And sometimes they hit a spike mark, sometimes they hit a footprint."
A par at No. 18 left her with a 3-over 39 for her first nine.
She got off to an inauspicious start on her second nine, making bogey at No. 1 after a poor drive got her into trouble.
After two pars, she again faced a makeable birdie putt, this one at No. 4 from about 6 feet, but it rimmed out, leaving her with another par.
Wie ended her round with a bogey at her final hole.
Nevertheless, she rated her play better than at last week's Omega European Masters, a men's event on the European Tour, where she missed the cut.
She noted that she was hitting her irons about 10 yards farther this week because she is striking the ball very solidly.
"David (coach Leadbetter) and I worked on my posture and my swing," she said. "I feel a lot more confident in my game ... so I feel it's coming along."