Wie cards ace, takes Canadian Open lead
WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Michelle Wie refrained from doing a dance after this hole-in-one. She was just as happy, though.
The 20-year-old from Hawaii had the second ace of her professional career Thursday on the way to a 7-under 65 and a three-stroke lead after the first round at the CN Canadian Women’s Open.
Wie raised her hands in the air and got a high-five from playing partner Cristie Kerr after the ace on the 190-yard, par-3 11th hole at the St. Charles Country Club.
After her first hole-in-one, in her rookie season at last year’s McDonald’s LPGA Championship, the 6-foot-tall Wie did a dance.
“I did a little shimmy after I made it in at McDonald’s and it got replayed one too many times and (TV sportscaster) Scott (Oake) made fun of it a little bit too much,” Wie said. “So (I) just decided against it. I really wanted to, but I didn’t. But it was pretty crazy.”
The youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur at age 10, Wie said she’s had eight aces in her career, but this was the only one in a tournament that she actually saw roll into the cup.
Sarah Kemp of Australia was three strokes behind Wie after her morning-round 68, while defending champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway was alone in third place at 69.
Rookie Ilhee Lee of South Korea initially had a score of 69 after her early round, but it was later corrected to 70 – a mark shared with seven others.
Seema Sadekar of Toronto was the low Canadian with a 72, two strokes ahead of Sue Kim of Langley, B.C. Kim is playing with a heavy heart after her father died in a car accident earlier this month.
Wie delivered a second spectacular shot, on No. 17, when she holed out from a greenside bunker for a birdie.
“I just really thought I could make it, and I went up there, really thought about it, just trusted it, and kind of did what I thought it would do,” Wie said.
The Canadian Open is Wie’s 15th event this season. She’s had three top-10 finishes, with the best a third at the Tres Marias Championship in May. Her only career victory came at last November’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
Kemp overcame blustery winds during the day to tally six birdies and two bogeys on the par-72, 6,572-yard course.
“My putter, I think, was the 4 under today,” said Kemp, 25, who’s in her third season on the tour. “I holed some really good putts and I just kept it in play.”
After a couple of withdrawals on Wednesday, the 156-player field features 46 of the top 50 players on the money list and all of the top 15 on the Rolex World Rankings.
Most of the world’s top players didn’t fare well.
No. 1 Ai Miyazato was tied for 63rd after shooting a 74, No. 2 Kerr finished tied for 81st with 75 and No. 3 Pettersen had the best with her 69.
Wie’s other playing partner, Jiyai Shin, is ranked fourth in the world and posted one of the 70s.
No. 5 Yani Tseng was tied for 46th after going 1 over.
Alexis Thompson shot a 71. Thompson turned pro in June at the age of 15, the youngest female to do so.
“Honestly, I think she’s unbelievable, just being 15 and doing what she does,” said 18-year-old Rebecca Lee-Bentham. “I had fun out there. It was great playing with her. She’s a great player.”
Notes: Wie’s hole-in-one was the 13th achieved by a player on the tour this season. ... The $2.25 million purse is tied for the fourth highest on the tour this season.