Michelle Wie sized up her putt on the first hole at yesterday's opening round of the Reno-Tahoe Open. Wie is attemping to become the first woman to make the cut in a PGA event in 63 years.
Wie off to solid start
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If Michelle Wie can land in red figures today, chances are she'll be the first woman to make the cut at a PGA Tour event since Babe Didrikson Zaharias turned the trick in 1945 at the L.A. Open.
The Honolulu native shot a 1-over 73 yesterday at the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open to land in a tie for 77th, eight strokes behind leader Jeff Overton. The top 70 and ties play through to the weekend. The last nine years the cut has been even par, so she'll need to shoot at least a 71 to have a legitimate shot.
Fellow Punahou School alum Parker McLachlin opened with a 4-under 68 and is tied for sixth, but like most of the tour members playing the Montreux Golf and Country Club course, McLachlin's gallery paled in comparison to Wie's. She had 400 fans follow her during her late-afternoon round.
This is the eighth time Wie has played in a PGA Tour event on a sponsor's exemption. She took a little heat from certain members of the LPGA Tour earlier this week, who questioned her reasoning for attempting to do something no woman has done in 63 years.
Wie carded three birdies and four bogeys, including a 5 at the par-4 first. She missed the cut at the Sony Open by one shot as a 14-year-old and hasn't come that close since.
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Michelle Wie hit out of a bunker on the seventh hole in the opening round of the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open. Wie is playing in the men's tournament on a sponsor's exemption.
RENO, Nev. » Michelle Wie put herself in contention to make her first cut in eight tries on the PGA Tour, shooting a 1-over 73 in yesterday's opening round of the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open that left her eight strokes behind leader Jeff Overton.
Playing on the men's tour for the first time since January 2007, Wie had three birdies, four bogeys and rallied to save par on several holes at the 7,472-yard mountain course at Montreux Golf & Country Club on the edge of the Sierra Nevada.
"I shot a pretty decent round today," she said. "I felt like I grinded really well. I've just got to shoot low tomorrow."
Wie, playing on a sponsor's exemption, has failed to make it to the weekend in her seven previous bids on the PGA Tour. The cut has averaged even par in the nine previous years of the Reno tournament, which runs opposite the Bridgestone Invitational - where the top 50 men are playing in Ohio this week.
Wie hit one pin on the fly from 65 yards and another on one hop from 85 yards, the latter leading to a 6-foot birdie putt on the 616-yard, par-5 ninth that brought a smile to the 18-year-old and a fist pump as the crowd cheered.
More than 400 people - the biggest gallery on the course - crowded around the first tee where Wie drove the ball into the left rough. She managed to hit her approach 195 yards onto the front of the green, but carded a bogey after she left her first putt 20 feet short of the hole.
She also bogeyed the par-4 fifth before she hit her approach 160 yards to within 5 feet of the pin and sank the birdie on the par-4 sixth. She saved par on the difficult 220-yard, par-3 No. 7 after blasting out of the sand to within 13 feet and did it again on No. 8 with a two putt from 50 feet after she hit a ponderosa pine tree off the tee and a deputy sheriff confiscated a cell phone from a fan who took her picture during her back swing from the rough.
On the back nine, she bogeyed the par-3 12th after hitting her tee shot in a bunker and averted another on the next hole with a 10-foot putt to save par. She missed the green on the par-3 16th and failed to convert a 10-foot par putt.