Saturday, June 21, 2014

U.S. Women's Open -- Day Three Wrap Up

When she was only 15 years old, Michelle Wie was tied for the lead going into the last round of the 2005 U.S. Women's Open.  This was back in the days when serious people speculated on the possibility that she might eventually join the men's tour.  She shot an 82 in the last round and finished in a tie for 24th.

The next year, when she was only 16 years old, Michelle Wie was again tied for the lead going into the last round of the 2006 U.S. Women's Open.  This time, she shot a very respectable 73, finishing in a tie for third and missing a playoff by only two shots.

2006 seems like a long time ago, and it was.  It was before smart phones, before almost anyone thought Barack Obama had a chance to be elected president in 2008, before the financial crisis.  John Calipari still had three seasons left at Memphis.  Tiger Woods was still healthy.  Housing markets still appeared to be strong.  It was the last year that Borders made a profit, and five years before the company shut down for good.

After 2006, something happened to Michelle Wie's golf game.  I don't know what it was.  But one day she was famous and about to sweep everything before her, and the next day she had practically disappeared.  Here's what she did at the U.S. Women's Open after 2006:

2007:  Withdrew
2008:  Missed the Cut
2009:  Did Not Play
2010:  Missed the Cut
2011:  Tied for 55th place
2012:  Tied for 35th place
2013:  Withdrew

Now, still only 24 years old, Michelle Wie is having a good year.  She's already won a tournament, and she's tied for the lead in the U.S. Women's Open.  If she can come through and win tomorrow, it will be one of the great comeback stories in sports history.  Even if she doesn't win, I'm excited that she's gotten this far.

In the meantime, I think Pinehurst is playing more as it was intended to play in this week's Open as opposed to the men's Open we saw last week.  Certainly the course has done a good job of separating the wheat from the chaff; there are a lot of big names near the top of the leaderboard:

T1.  A. Yang (KOR):  -2 (71+69+68=208)
T1.  M. Wie:  -2 (68+68+72=208)

T3.  J. Inkster:  +2 (71+75+66=212)
T3.  S. Meadow (NIR):  +2 (71+72+69=212)
T3.  N.Y. Choi (KOR):  +2 (71+70+71=212)
T3.  Miss M. Lee (am) (AUS):  +2 (69+71+72=212)

T7.  P. Phatlum (THA):  +3 (71+73+69=213)
T7.  S.Y. Ryu (KOR):  +3 (69+74+70=213)
T7.  K. Webb (AUS):  +3 (70+73+70=213)
T7.  S. Yokomine (JPN):  +3 (74+68+71=213)
T7.  L. Thompson:  +3 (71+68+74=213)


  1. Go, Michelle Wie!

    I know almost nothing about Hawai'i.

  2. Amy Yang has started off bogey, double-bogey. Wie has started bogey-par. So the leaderboard looks like this:

    1. M. Wie: -1 (56 holes)
    T2. S.Y. Ryu (KOR): +1 (58)
    T2. A. Yang (KOR): +1 (56)
    T4. N.Y. Choi (KOR): +2 (58)
    T4. S. Meadow (NIR): +2 (57)

  3. Stacy Lewis is two under for the day, and has clawed her way back into contention.

    1. M. Wie: -1 (59 holes)
    T2. S.Y. Ryu (KOR): +1 (61)
    T2. A. Yang (KOR): +1 (59)
    T4. S. Lewis: +2 (63)
    T4. P. Phatlum (THA): +2 (61)
    T4. N.Y. Choi (KOR): +2 (60)

  4. Lewis birdies the 11th hole to move to 1 over par. She's now only two shots off the lead.

  5. 1. M. Wie: -1 (60 holes)
    T2. S. Lewis: +1 (65)
    T2. A. Yang (KOR): +1 (60)
    4. S.Y. Ryu (KOR): +2 (62)

  6. Yang bogeys the 7th hole to fall three shots off the pace.

    1. M. Wie: -1 (61 holes)
    2. S. Lewis: +1 (66)
    T3. S.Y. Ryu (KOR): +2 (63)
    T3. A. Yang (KOR): +2 (61)

  7. Stacy Lewis birdies the 13th hole! She is now four under for the day, and she is now only one shot off the lead:

    1. M. Wie: -1 (62 holes)
    2. S. Lewis: Even (67)
    T3. S.Y. Ryu (KOR): +2 (64)
    T3. A. Yang (KOR): +2 (62)

  8. Stacy Lewis is in big trouble on the par-4 14th hole. She drove into the wiregrass, and after three shots she still hasn't reached the green.

    Meanwhile, Wie has ripped a long drive down the fairway of the par-5 10th.

  9. Lewis takes a bogey on the 14th and falls back to one over par.

    Now Wie is putting for eagle on the 10th. AND SHE MAKES IT! Suddenly she has a four shot lead:

    1. M. Wie: -3 (64 holes)
    T2. S. Lewis: +1 (68)
    T2. A. Yang: +1 (64)
    4. S. Meadow (NIR): +2 (64)

  10. By the way, Emma Talley shot a 74 to finish with exactly 300 strokes -- 20 over par. She is in a tie for 63rd.

  11. Wie pars the 11th and holds on to a four-shot lead:

    1. M. Wie: -3 (65 holes)
    T2. S. Lewis: +1 (69)
    T2. A. Yang (KOR): +1 (65)

  12. Stacy Lewis bogeys the 16th hole, and she is now 5 shots off the pace.

  13. Lewis bounces back with a birdie on 17, and moves back into a tie for second at one over par.

  14. Lewis crushes a drive down the fairway of the par-4 18th.

  15. Yang bogeys the 12th hole to fall back to 2 over par. Wie picks up another par to stay at 3 under.

    1. M. Wie: -3 (66 holes)
    2. S. Lewis: +1 (71)

  16. Stacy Lewis, the number one player in the world, rolls in a birdie putt on 18! She closes birdie-birdie, and shoots a wonderful 66 on the last day. She is in the clubhouse with a score of 280, even par. She is three shots off the lead.

    1. M. Wie: -3 (66 holes)
    2. S. Lewis: Even (72)

  17. Lewis had an extraordinary last round -- four bogeys and EIGHT birdies. Her 66 is tied for the lowest round all week.

  18. Wie pars the 13th hole. Five holes left.

    1. M. Wie: -3 (67 holes)
    2. S. Lewis: Even (72)

  19. Wie pars the 14th hole. Four holes left.

    1. M. Wie: -3 (68 holes)
    2. S. Lewis: Even (72)

    Amy Yang takes another bogey to fall to 3 over par for the tournament, and five over par on the day.

  20. Wie pars the 15th hole. Three holes left.

    1. M. Wie: -3 (69 holes)
    2. S. Lewis: Even (72)

  21. To put Wie's youth into perspective, consider that she is five months younger than Rory McIlroy.

  22. On the par 4 16th, Wie's drive goes into a fairway bunker -- and then her second shot appeared to fly into a greenside bunker. But now they can't find the ball.

    Wait. They found the ball. But it's partially buried, and there appears to be a bush between her and the hole.

  23. Wie declares an unplayable lie, and drops a new ball well behind the bunker. So she's now lying three and she's still not on the green.

  24. Wie's fourth shot pitches onto the green about thirty feet past the hole. As she lines up her bogey putt, a nearby chapel starts chiming a lovely tune to celebrate 5:30.

    Her bogey putt goes about three feet past the hole.

  25. Yang pars the 16th hole to remain at 3 over par.

    Wie holes a very nervy putt for double bogey, and she is now clinging to a one shot lead.

  26. 1. M. Wie: -1 (70 holes)
    2. S. Lewis: Even (72)

    Amy Yang is the only other player still on the course, and she is three over par with only two holes left. So for the first time since 2010, the U.S. Women's Open will be won by an American.

  27. Wie's tee shot to the par-3 17th hole lands safely on the green.

    Stephanie Meadow, who was playing at the University of Alabama not so long ago, finishes with a score of 281 -- 1 over par -- an excellent result in her first professional tournament.

  28. From her odd, bent-over putting stance, Wie sends her 20-foot birdie putt on 17 rolling, rolling, rolling . . . INTO THE HOLE! Big fist pumps. Huge cheers. What a response to her double bogey!

    One hole left.

    1. M. Wie: -2 (71 holes)
    2. S. Lewis: Even (72)

  29. On the par-4 18th, Michelle Wie pounds a low stinger far up the fairway.

  30. Michelle Wie's second shot lands on the 18th green. She's not far away now.

  31. She's done it! Michelle Wie pars the last hole, and she WINS THE 2014 U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN!

    What a great, great story. Good for her.