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Wie 3 behind at Dubai Ladies Masters


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POSTED: Thursday, December 10, 2009

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates » Maria Hjorth shot a 6-under 66 yesterday in the first round of the Dubai Ladies Masters, and Michelle Wie was three strokes behind in a three-way tie for fifth.

Hjorth had five birdies, one eagle and one bogey at the Emirates Golf Club.

“;I think the course is playing well, but some of the greens are really fast,”; said the 36-year-old Swede, who had her first child 10 months ago. “;So you have to make sure that you place the ball in the right spot on the greens. But it was a very good day. I played really solid.”;

Wie had an early tee time — starting on the back nine — and missed a couple of birdie putts at the start. But a birdie on the 18th helped and the Punahou School grad made her fifth birdie of the round on her final hole to finish with a 69.

“;A couple of loose tee shots on the front nine, but I feel pretty good. I just hung in there and grinded it out,”; said Wie, who is recovering from an ankle injury and played with an ankle support. “;These greens are difficult, but a pretty solid round. Hopefully, I will make a lot more birdies in the next couple of rounds.”;

Titiya Plucksataporn, Amy Yang and Julieta Granada all shot 68 and tied for second place behind Hjorth. A further stroke behind, and tied with Wie, were Minea Blomqvist and Virginie Lagoutte-Clement

New sponsor for Phoenix

The PGA Tour has picked up its third new title sponsor of the year with an announcement that Waste Management will be sponsor of the Phoenix Open starting next year.

Waste Management replaces FBR, which had said earlier this year it would not renew its contract after 2010.

The tournament, which draws by far the largest crowds of the PGA Tour, will be known as the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It will be held Feb. 25-28 at TPC Scottsdale.

The tour previously found new sponsors for the season-opener in Kapalua (SBS Championship) and a new tournament in West Virginia (The Greenbrier Classic).

Terms of the six-year deal were not disclosed. A PGA Tour official said the tournament would be broadcast all four days on the Golf Channel in 2010, mainly because of an Olympic year. CBS Sports, which typically broadcasts the Phoenix Open, has the Super Bowl next year while NBC Sports has the Winter Games in Vancouver.