SONY OPEN IN HAWAII
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Michelle Wie and her caddie/father, B.J., surveyed the course before yesterday's first round.
Wie puts herself in a deep hole
Michelle Wie used to be known for quality drives and an erratic short game.
Yesterday it was the other way around and the results were not good.
She hit her first five tee shots to the left of the fairways and greens while going 9 over par on her first 10 holes in the first round of the Sony Open in Hawaii. Wie regrouped to go 1 under over the last seven and finished the day at 8-over 78.
Hitting into water, sand and rough, Wie was consistent only in her inability to hit a fairway or a green in regulation, missing them all on the front nine. She took three penalty drops before making the turn.
The 17-year-old Punahou student was scheduled to tee off at 1 p.m. on the 10th hole today, and needed a monster second round to even think about making the cut in her fourth try at this tournament.
Wie has suffered from a sore right wrist for months and wore an Ace bandage on it. She stopped short of blaming it for her poor drives.
"Every kind of injury hurts a little bit," Wie said. "It's always in the back of your mind. But ... I'm not going to make any excuses."
She made one fairway the entire round, the 15th.
"It was very frustrating because I knew if I got the ball in the fairway, I really could have shot really low today," Wie said.
Wie was erratic and consistently short on the front nine. She had four bogeys and two double bogeys.
"I have to say my lowest point was the 6th hole, two (double bogeys) in a row," Wie said. "I had a lot of things going on. But you know, I just thought I'm not going to let this get away from me because I still have it in me."
In her previous four tournaments playing with male professionals (PGA, Asian and European tours) since last summer, Wie has withdrawn due to heat exhaustion and finished last twice and second to last once.
Despite her woes yesterday, Wie maintained a large gallery.
"I wasn't playing my greatest today," she said. "They still followed me to the end."
Playing partner Stephen Marino complimented her short game.
"Her bunker play was magnificent and she had a lot of good up-and-downs today. I think maybe her wrist was hurting her and she had a couple of bad tee shots. But I was really impressed with the way she chipped the ball," said Marino, who shot 68.
Unfortunately for Wie, her good scrambling just controlled some of the massive damage.
"I feel like my short game and putting and irons are fantastic right now. I just have to get my ball in the fairway and in play," she said. "I feel like after that, I can really shoot a low score."
Last year Wie shot 79 in the first round and came back with 68 in the second round.
Most of the other local players fared better than Wie yesterday.
Amateur Tadd Fujikawa, a 16-year-old Moanalua High student, shot 1-over 71. He made just one birdie -- on the 506-yard No. 9, his last hole of the day.
"I had a lot of opportunities to make birdies and I didn't take advantage. I'm going to go on the range right now and work it out," said Fujikawa, who became the youngest player ever to compete in the U.S. Open last summer. He also had a large gallery yesterday.
Punahou graduate Parker McLachlin, playing in his first event since earning his PGA Tour card, shot 2-over 72. McLachlin birdied three holes and bogeyed five.
"These Bermuda greens are tricky, even for me and I grew up on this course," McLachlin said.
He enjoyed the round, though, partly because he knew one of his playing partners, David Chin.
Chin, a longtime pro at Navy-Marine, was playing in this tournament for the first time. He shot 76, but said it was fun to play with McLachlin, to whom he had "given a couple of lessons" when McLachlin was a teenager.
"Dave's always been a big supporter. He let me go hit balls at Navy-Marine, let me go out and play," McLachlin said. "He's been a fantastic help to my game. He's got such a good personality. He plays fast. We had fun joking around, he's a hang loose kinda guy and refreshing to be around."
Tour veteran Dean Wilson, who is from Kaneohe, was also 2 over at 72. Wilson was disappointed, especially because of a triple-bogey on the par-4 No. 5.
"I couldn't get any putts going again and I had a bad hole on the back nine, bad drive, bad kick on the side of a hill and compounded with another bad shot," Wilson said.
Kevin Hayashi finished at 74, and Abe Mariano endured a round of 83 (the only score worse than Wie's).
All of the local players were scheduled for afternoon tee times today: Wilson at 12:30 (No. 1), McLachlin and Chin 1:20 (No. 1), Hayashi 1:20 (No. 10), Fujikawa 1:30 (No. 1) and Marino 1:30 (No. 10).
The Star-Bulletin's Kalani Simpson contributed to this story.