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Wie enjoying Solheim


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POSTED: Saturday, August 22, 2009

SUGAR GROVE, ILL. » Michelle Wie saw the masses, heard the chants and knew this was going to be a special day no matter where her shots landed.

Her performance was mostly good. The experience was better.

The 19-year-old from Honolulu got her first taste of Solheim Cup play yesterday and was still savoring it long after she left the course.

“;I think this was the most fun I've ever had playing,”; she said. “;It was just unbelievable—the crowd, the cheers, everything about it. It was the most fun I've ever had on the golf course.”;

Wie has competed in majors and gone up against the men, but those experiences didn't compare to this. Adding to the fun was the fact that Wie had a decent round, with four birdies before a bumpy finish that left her and Morgan Pressel halved with Women's British Open champion Catriona Matthew and Maria Hjorth in the morning fourball session.

She then watched the afternoon session, as did Pressel and Brittany Lang, with American captain Beth Daniel opting to conserve players' energy rather than have them play five rounds this weekend.

The U.S. closed the day leading 4 1/2 -3 1/2 . Wie is paired with Christina Kim for today's fourball, facing Helen Alfredsson and Tania Elosegui.

Pressel and Wie were 2-down through 11 holes yesterday before making a run over the final seven. Wie birdied the 13th to pull even and converted a 10-footer for par on the next hole, allowing Pressel to knock in an 8-foot birdie.

But they lost the lead on 18 when Matthew made a 12-footer.

That sour finish aside, it was a sweet day for Wie.

Though players grumbled about the attention she received early in her career, and there were reports of a rivalry with Pressel, who also burst onto the scene at a young age, her teammates are getting to know her a little better this week.

Wie and Pressel are even staying at the same place, and if there was a rivalry, that ended a long time ago. When someone asked about it, Pressel deferred to Lang, who said: “;That's a pretty easy one. I didn't know you were enemies.”;

Pressel added: “;That's how the media portrayed us.”;

Wie, sitting between them, simply let the other two do the talking. She was still smiling, though. Still savoring the day.

“;Walking down each tee box to each green felt like you were walking down 18 in contention in a major, and you times that by 100, and that's what it felt like,”; Wie said, as her parents Bo and B.J. looked on in the interview room.

Fans chanted “;USA! USA!”; and roared with every big shot. They wore shirts and jackets emblazoned with the red, white and blue, and they carried flags. She saw the Junior Solheim Cup team singing, too, and said it was “;just so awesome.”;

Was she surprised? Not exactly.

“;It was just the coolest thing I've ever done,”; she said. “;I mean, it was unbelievable. You just get the fire. Every putt and every shot you're thinking, 'God, let's make this crowd erupt. They're ready to explode, and let's do it.' I mean, that was all I was thinking.”;