Wie weathers the elements


POSTED: Friday, February 13, 2009

Michelle Wie defied the tradewinds yesterday afternoon like only a local golfer can to fire a 6-under 66 and shoot herself into contention after the opening round of the SBS Open at Turtle Bay.





        After first round:


PlayerScoreTo par
Angela Stanford65-7
Yani Tseng66-6
Michelle Wie66-6
Kyeong Bae67-5
Momoko Ueda68-4
Juli Inkster69-3
Angela Park69-3
Paula Creamer69-3
Morgan Pressel73+1


First-day leader Angela Stanford went out early to shoot a 7-under 65, but in relative benign conditions compared to those who teed it up after lunch. Of the afternoon pairings, only Wie and Japan's Momoko Ueda (68) landed among the top-10 finishers in the opening event on the LPGA Tour.

“;Yeah, I was a little nervous,”; Wie said of teeing it up at the first hole. “;That tree (in the No. 1 fairway) looked taller than usual. I felt really excited. You know, a new beginning, a lot of excitement. I felt like, especially after Q-school and all of that, when things started going my way, I got a lot more confidence.”;

Confidence is a word Stanford became familiar with last year as well. She is part of an American girl resurgence in golf that is finally being noticed by the casual fan. With Annika Sorenstam's recent retirement and current No. 1 Lorena Ochoa showing some signs of human frailty, it's possible an American will go to the head of the class for the first time in 15 years.

World No. 3 Paula Creamer (70) is the most likely candidate for this grand prize among those born in the USA, but Stanford, a relative unknown, made a statement last year with two wins and 10 top 10s, including her final six events on the LPGA Tour.

Local golf fans caught a glimpse of the Texas Christian University graduate at last October's Kapalua Classic, where she managed a fourth-place finish en route to a No. 8 world ranking. Creamer and Cristie Kerr (No. 7) are the only Americans in front of her.

Judging by yesterday's blistering 18 holes, it appears the former Western Athletic Conference player of the year has kept her hot hand. Stanford's bogey-free round left her one shot clear of Yani Tseng (66) and Wie, and two shots removed from South Korea's Kyeong Bae (67), who is alone in fourth.

Stanford, Tseng and Bae went off early and played in relatively calm conditions compared to the afternoon when the tradewinds kicked up some dust. Granted, it rained in the morning ... even hard at times ... but not enough to keep the top players from landing in the red.

“;It was very odd,”; Stanford said of the conditions. It rained hard while she was warming up, but it stopped at her first tee. “;We teed off on No. 10, it was very calm. The wind blew at 10 and 11, and it seemed to kind of die after that, and we made the turn to one, it started to blow again. We got pretty fortunate with the tee time this morning.”;

Wie will have that same fortune blow her way today as she goes off early at 7:20 on the back nine. Her familiarity with the Arnold Palmer-designed course in windy conditions served her well as she shot the best round among those teeing up in the afternoon.

She began her career as a full-fledged member of the LPGA Tour by birdieing the first hole. She carded the first of two bogeys at No. 2, but bounced back with birdies both times to keep her in contention. The Punahou School graduate would like nothing better than to win her first professional tournament in Hawaii, but realizes she still has a long way to go.

Wie carded four birdies and one bogey on the front and four birdies and another bogey on the back. She got into a good rhythm by birdieing the final three holes.

“;It all clicked together,”; Wie said of her strong finish. “;Fortunately, like I said, overall, the round felt pretty solid.”;

As good as Wie is at 19, there are several good 20-somethings capable of great things, including Tseng. Her seven birdies and one bogey got her off to the kind of start she was looking for in 2009. Last year, as a 19-year-old, Tseng went from No. 138 in the world to No. 2 thanks to a major win at the LPGA Championship and five runner-ups.

“;I was a little bit surprised (by her ranking) because I didn't play that good to be No. 2 in the world,”; Tseng said. “;But after winning (the LPGA Championship), I knew I could play. I trust myself to be more confident.”;



SBS Open


At Turtle Bay Resort, Palmer Course, par 72

First Round

Angela Stanford33-3265
Yani Tseng33-3366
Michelle Wie33-3366
Kyeong Bae33-3467
Momoko Ueda34-3468
Taylor Leon36-3369
In-Kyung Kim34-3569
Jimin Kang37-3269
Teresa Lu35-3469
Juli Inkster35-3469
Angela Park37-3269
Kris Tamulis35-3570
Mika Miyazato36-3470
Paula Creamer35-3570
Hee-Won Han36-3470
Cristie Kerr35-3570
Laura Diaz32-3870
Lindsey Wright35-3570
Vicky Hurst35-3570
Jin Young Pak35-3570
Audra Burks36-3470
Angela Jerman36-3571
Stacy Prammanasudh35-3671
Brittany Lang35-3671
Jee Young Lee37-3471
Alena Sharp37-3471
Lorie Kane36-3571
Silvia Cavalleri36-3571
Janice Moodie37-3471
Hee Young Park34-3771
Na Yeon Choi37-3471
Meena Lee36-3571
Stacy Lewis36-3571
Shiho Oyama35-3671
Kelli Kuehne37-3572
Anja Monke37-3572
Meaghan Francella35-3772
Kristy McPherson37-3572
Jane Park36-3672
Jiyai Shin34-3872
Nicole Castrale38-3472
Minea Blomqvist35-3772
Ai Miyazato37-3572
Giulia Sergas36-3672
Moira Dunn36-3672
Haeji Kang35-3772
Jeanne Cho-Hunicke37-3572
Sung Ah Yim37-3572
Hee Kyung Seo37-3572
Aree Song36-3773
Charlotte Mayorkas37-3673
Sarah Lee35-3873
Suzann Pettersen36-3773
Shanshan Feng37-3673
Eun-Hee Ji39-3473
Young Kim37-3673
Il Mi Chung38-3573
Candie Kung36-3773
Heather Young37-3673
Rachel Hetherington38-3573
Wendy Ward36-3773
Michele Redman38-3573
Morgan Pressel36-3773
Song Yi Choi37-3673
Meredith Duncan37-3673
Jackie Gallagher-Smith37-3673
Sarah Jane Smith38-3573
Jennifer Rosales35-3873
Carolina Llano37-3774
Birdie Kim35-3974
Marcy Hart36-3874
Johanna Mundy35-3974
Danielle Downey37-3774
Stephanie Louden36-3874
Wendy Doolan35-3974
Karine Icher35-3974
Anna Nordqvist37-3774
Sun Young Yoo36-3874
Jill McGill40-3474
Irene Cho35-3974
Christina Kim36-3874
Natalie Gulbis37-3774
Joo Mi Kim36-3874
Mollie Fankhauser39-3574
Eva Dahllof37-3774
Linda Wessberg39-3574
Paige Mackenzie38-3674
Soo-Yun Kang37-3774
Lisa Strom38-3775
Allison Hanna-Williams36-3975
Maggie Will37-3875
Jeehae Lee39-3675
Louise Friberg36-3975
Katie Futcher38-3775
Leta Lindley38-3775
Sandra Gal37-3875
Pat Hurst36-3975
Grace Park36-3975
Anna Grzebien39-3675
Amy Yang38-3775
Na On Min39-3776
Louise Stahle38-3876
Leah Wigger38-3876
Reilley Rankin37-3976
Erica Blasberg41-3576
Russy Gulyanamitta40-3676
Na Ri Kim40-3676
Carri Wood38-3876
Allison Fouch38-3876
Kim Hall36-4076
Mindy Kim40-3676
Mikaela Parmlid39-3776
Chella Choi39-3776
Becky Lucidi39-3877
Beth Bader39-3877
Cindy Rarick39-3877
Kate Golden40-3777
Samantha Richdale41-3677
Dorothy Delasin36-4177
M.J. Hur37-4077
Jimin Jeong39-3877
Young-A Yang41-3778
Eunjung Yi39-3978
Janell Howland39-3978
Julieta Granada39-3978
H.J. Choi39-3978
Liselotte Neumann40-3878
Amy Hung40-3878
Se Ri Pak39-4079
Jamie Hullett40-3979
Michelle McGann41-3980
Michelle Ellis40-4080
Anna Rawson43-3780
Becky Iverson40-4181
Brittany Lincicome41-4081
Ha Neul Kim41-4182
Young Jo41-4485
Sophie Gustafson  WD