No sooner had the news gotten out that Michelle Wie had qualified for next month’s U.S. Amateur Public Links than the phones at Shaker Run Golf Club started ringing off the hook.
“It’s been a hectic week around here,” said Terry Murphy, director of golf at Shaker Run, site of the championship. “The phone is constantly ringing. Most people want to know what her tee times are, which, of course, is something we won’t get from the USGA until about a week before the championship. Her qualifying was very historic, and it’s going to be very historic when she comes here to compete.”
The 80th U.S. Amateur Public Links will be played July 11-16 at Shaker Run.
“No doubt it’s going to make things a lot more hectic, but it’s also going to be very exciting,” Murphy said. “Still, we don’t want this to turn into the ‘Michelle Wie Show.’ There are 155 other very qualified players. It’s just that, because of her age, her ability and the high profile she carries, she brings something special to the table.”
Wie’s swing coach, David Leadbetter, is excited about his young student’s latest accomplishment.
“She’s playing great golf and she’s very confident,” Leadbetter said. “One of her goals was to get into the Publinks and have a shot at the Masters. (The APL winner has traditionally received an invitation to play in the following year’s Masters.) It’s a long shot, but, hey, you never know. The way she is, once she gets her mind set you can never put anything past her. When you hit the ball with the power she does, you have to give her a shot.
“Her genetics are such that she creates a lot of power. She’s got really good technique. That’s one reason why she really could play well at the men’s Publinks. It’s going to be a good challenge for her.”
Then, with a grin, he added, “Guess they’ll have to get a separate locker room for her.”
Unlike many of Wie’s appearances in high-profile events, this was not gained by special invitation or exemption.
“The thing everyone has to understand is that she deserves to be here,” said Bill Pushak, general manager at Shaker Run and tournament chairman for this year’s APL. “She earned her way here on the golf course.
“With Michelle qualifying, it has taken this championship to a whole new level. It has become a historic event, so we’re all very excited. We plan to meet this coming week with USGA officials and begin working on the various logistics.”
Murphy said officials now expect “two, maybe three or four times” the number of spectators as originally planned. There will be no charge for admission.
Media credentials more than doubled within the first three days of Wie qualifying, and Murphy expects that number to grow.
Short shots: Michigan State women’s coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll won the Michigan Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship June 14 at Battle Creek Country Club. Slobodnik-Stoll shot 148 to win by four shots over Julie Massa. . . . Daniel Woltman of Beaver Dam, Wis., won the FootJoy Boys Invitational June 17 at Forest Oaks Country Club in Greensboro, N.C. Woltman won with a par on the first playoff hole after he and Roberto Galletti Jr. finished at 10-under 278. Galletti missed a 3-foot putt on the final hole of regulation that would have won the event. . . . Laura Coble won the Women’s Southern Amateur June 17 with a 3-and-2 victory over RemiJin Camping atthe Landings Deer Creek Course in Savannah, Ga. . . . Bobby Spiller defeated Stewart Whitt in a two-hole playoff for the Greystone Invitational title June 19 after the pair tied at 212 at the Legacy Course at Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham, Ala.
Jay Choi of Cerritos, Calif., shot four rounds in the 60s en route to a 13-under 267 total and four-shot triumph at the Southwestern Amateur June 17 at Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
– Rex Hoggard contributed