Saturday, June 23, 2001
Michelle Wie bowsLONG GROVE, Ill. >> "Awesome.''
out after historic run
After becoming the youngest
to qualify, the Punahou student
loses in third round
Star-Bulletin wire services
It's something one would expect an 11-year-old to say.
Instead it's what others were saying about 11-year-old Michelle Wie this week at the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship.
The latest to join Wie's admiration society was Allison Johnson, who eliminated Wie in yesterday's third round, 1-up.
"I just kept telling myself, 'I can't get beaten by an 11-year-old,' " the 20-year-old Johnson said. "She's awesome. I was in shock - she hits it so far."
Wie, who will be a seventh-grader at Punahou School this fall, became the youngest player to qualify for a U.S. Golf Association women's amateur event when she made the Public Links field last year, losing in the first round.
She topped that finish by winning first- and second-round matches Thursday, but couldn't get past Johnson of Amarillo, Texas.
"It was really fun. I got more experience, and I think I'll go even farther next year," she said.
Wie did not leave disappointed.
She holed a 50-foot birdie putt to win the 17th hole and stay in the match, trailing by one hole with the last to play. Then Wie almost holed a tough shot from a bunker on the 18th, but the ball settled inches from the hole and she made par.
"I played bad. I made lots of bogeys," Wie said. "I couldn't get on the green. I was putting good, but just couldn't get it on the green."
Johnson two-putted from 35 feet for par to win the match and move into the quarterfinals at the 6,110-yard, par-72 Kemper Lakes Golf Club.
Both players had their fathers as caddies. Johnson, who was ranked No. 1 in the nation in junior tennis when she was 12, has played competitive golf for only three years.
Johnson also won her quarterfinal match, beating Thailand's Virada Nirapathpongporn, 4 and 3. In the semifinals, Johnson will face Missy Farr-Kaye of Scottsdale, Ariz., a winner in 20 holes over Kimberly Welch of Sacramento, Calif.
In the other quarterfinals, qualifying medalist Candie Kung of Taiwan beat Sara Jones of Valencia, Calif., 7 and 6, and Karla Schuldt of Elk River, Minn., edged Chin Huei Hung of Taiwan, 1-up.