Wie wins 1st major with 2-shot victory at U.S. Women's Open
TribLIVE Sports Videos
PINEHURST, N.C. — The road Michelle Wie took to a U.S. Women's Open title was unlike any other and suddenly insignificant. Whether this was a long time coming was the least of her cares.
The biggest star in women's golf had her name on the biggest trophy.
She never looked happier.
“Oh my God, I can't even think straight,” Wie said Sunday after a two-shot victory over Stacy Lewis to claim her first major.
The final three holes at Pinehurst No. 2 were filled with ups and downs that Wie knows as well as anyone in golf. She responded with a performance worthy of the hype that had been heaped on her since she was a teenager.
With a three-shot lead on the 16th hole, Wie nearly threw it all away with one poor decision, only keeping the lead by making a nervy 5-foot putt for double bogey. And right when it looked as though this would end badly, the 24-year-old from Hawaii responded with the putt of her life that made her a Women's Open champion.
Facing a 25-foot birdie putt on 17 that was fast and dangerous, Wie pumped her fist when it fell, then pounded her fist twice to celebrate the moment.
“That kind of emotion, that kind of pressure ... I'll think of that putt as one of the best putts I've ever hit in my life,” she said.
A par on the 18th gave her an even-par 70 to beat Lewis, the No. 1 player in women's golf who made Wie earn it. Lewis made eight birdies — the most in a final round by a male or female in the U.S. Open — and closed with a 66.
Lewis was on the range preparing for a playoff when her caddie told her Wie made birdie on the 17th. Moments later, Lewis was on the 18th green to hug Wie. Like most players, she was perplexed why Wie would spend so much time trying to compete against the men when she still didn't have an LPGA Tour card.
They are friends now and practice frequently. Lewis said she wasn't the least bit surprised that Wie delivered such a clutch moment.
“I think that scene on 18, being on network TV, as many people as we had around there at Pinehurst No. 2 and Michelle Wie winning the golf tournament, I don't think you can script it any better,” Lewis said. “I think it's great for the game of golf. I think it's even better for women's golf. I'm so happy for Michelle Wie. I mean this has been such a long time coming for her.”
Wie had chance to win this title when she was a 15-year-old amateur at Cherry Hills, and a 16-year-old pro at Newport. The last time she was in this area, she opened with an 82 at Pine Needles in 2007 and walked off the course the next day because of injuries.
She has been one of the biggest stars in women's golf since she was 13 and played in the final group of a major. Her popularity soared along with criticism when she competed against the men on the PGA Tour while still in high school and talked about wanting to play in the Masters.
That seems like a lifetime ago.
The 6-foot Wie is all grown up. She is a Stanford graduate, popular among pros of both genders and now a major champion.
“I can't believe this is happening,” Wie said.
Wie finished at 2-under-par 278, the only player to beat par in the second week of championship golf at Pinehurst.
Martin Kaymer won by eight shots last week at 9-under 271, the second-lowest score in U.S. Open history.
Juli Inkster, playing her 35th and final U.S. Women's Open, closed with a 75 to tie for 15th. She received the loudest ovation of the week walking up the 18th until Wie arrived as the winner.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Steelers LB Haggans to do time in Westmoreland jail
- Crosby banned from Jets game because he missed All-Star Game
- Owner of Italian Village Pizza stores gets house arrest for tax evasion
- LeBeau won’t join Cardinals coaching staff
- Pittsburgh cracks down on overcrowded houses
- Allegheny County using $15.5M grant to reduce homelessness
- Cal U professor who died in campus office was lawyer, civil rights leader
- Pine-Richland’s DiNucci to Pitt; Kittanning’s Bowers opts for PSU
- National Weather Service to evaluate work after missed call on storm
- Tanker crash closes lane of Turnpike in Penn Township
- Flyers’ Rinaldo suspended 8 games for hit on Letang