2004: Wie’s drought continues with 2nd-round ‘giveaway’

By Jay A. Coffin

Erie, Pa.

Michelle Wie entered the U.S. Women’s Amateur in the midst of a 14-month winless streak. She exited after a three-putt from 15 feet on the 18th hole handed In-Bee Park their second-round match.

“I gave her that match tied up in a box with a pretty pink ribbon,” Wie said Aug. 12 at The Kahkwa Club.

It wasn’t quite that simple. The 14-year-old struggled all week to find her game. She shot 75-78 the first two days and qualified in the lower portion of the bracket with higher seeds Park, Julieta Granada and Morgan Pressel.

In her first-round match against Angela Park, Wie played poorly from tee to green but bailed herself out with an exceptional short game to win, 1 up. The second-round match with Park produced better ball-striking but Wie’s putting wasn’t there. With Wie leading 2 up with three holes remaining, Park, 16, made birdie on No. 16 and squared the match on 17 when Wie failed to get up-and-down for par. On No. 18, Wie hit her approach to 15 feet and three-putted, missing a 6-foot comebacker for par and giving Park a 1-up victory.

“I played pretty good,” Wie said. “The last two holes were just devastating. I feel so bad losing to bogeys instead of her making birdies.”

It is the second consecutive year that Wie has failed to reach the round of 16 at the U.S. Women’s Amateur. Last year at Philadelphia Country Club, she lost to Maru Martinez in the first round. This year, Wie wasn’t even the best player her age. Fellow 14-year-old Mina Harigae shot 74-74 in stroke play – five shots better than Wie – and won matches against Taylor Leon and Jennie Lee before losing to Jane Park, 1 up, in the third round.

On Wie’s bag for the week was Juli Inkster’s longtime caddie, Greg Johnston. The two met last year at the LPGA Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore., when Johnston carried Wie’s bag after Inkster withdrew. (Wie shot 69-72-73 and tied for 28th.) Johnston was asked earlier this year if he could caddie for Wie, and only two tournaments fit into his schedule. Johnston, who has looped for Inkster for 10 years and been on her bag for four major championships, also is carrying Wie’s bag at the LPGA’s Wendy’s Championship for Children this week. Inkster is not playing in the event.

“This is not a permanent position,” Johnston said. “And Juli is all for it.”

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