Michelle Wie defeated by In-Bee Park in Second Round of U.S. Women's Amateur

 

Erie, Pa. – Michelle Wie, 14, of Honolulu, Hawaii, three-putted the 18th hole from 15 feet to lose her second-round match in the United States Women's Amateur Championship to Korean-born In-Bee Park, 16, of Henderson, Nev., 1 up.

The match ended Wie's reign over spectators at the 6,365-yard, par-72 course at The Kahkwa Club.

“I gave her that match tied up in a box with a pretty pink ribbon,” muttered Wie as she marched to the locker room.

Wie was never down in the match until the final hole. As late as the 16th tee, she had a 2-up lead on Park, the 2002 U.S. Girls' Junior champion and 2003 Girls' Junior runner-up. But Park birdied the 338-yard par 4 to pull within a one-hole margin.

Wie chose to hit her driver on the tight, par-4 17th and landed in the rough.

“I've been hitting driver on that hole every day,” she said. “You have to have a wedge into that (crowned) green. You can't hit that green with a 7- or 8-iron.”

Wie, the 2003 U.S. Woman's Amateur Public Links champion and the 2004 WAPL runner-up, and Park both hit their approach shots short of the green, however, and Park got it up and down for a par while Wie bogeyed.

With the match all square, both players hit the green of the par-4 18th. Park was some 60 feet from the hole and Wie was 15 feet away and seemingly in command. But Park putted up to within inches and Wie conceded Park's four. Wie's birdie attempt picked up speed at the hole and rolled six feet past. Her second putt caught the edge and spun away as a gallery of some 600 seemed to groan in unison.

Wie and Park shook hands, then Wie signed autographs for some 40 spectators before meeting with members of the news media.

“I wish I didn't have to lose with a three-putt green,” Wie said. “I thought I hit it (the first putt) good. I didn't think it was going that far past. I just gave myself downhill, left-to-right breaking putts all day and it's really hard to make those putts.

“It's really disappointing but it's been a really good week. This is a great course and hopefully I'll improve for next week.”

Wie is playing in the LPGA's Wendy's tournament next week in Dublin, Ohio.

With the usual match-play concessions, Park had a 73 for the 18 holes and Wie had a 72. Park advanced into the afternoon round of 16 where she faces Morgan Pressel, 16, of Boca Raton, Fla.

Although she exited stroke-play qualifying rounds 12 strokes behind the medalist, Wie generated excitement, attracting hundreds of spectators to a championship that is usually sparsely attended in the early rounds. Nearly as many children as adults made up her galleries throughout her four days of play, running across the fairways and tramping through the rough in her wake.

Story written by Rhonda Glenn, manager of communications for the USGA. E-mail her with questions or comments at rglenn@usga.org.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

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