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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, July 22, 2004

Wie opens with 71 in France's Evian Masters

Associated Press

EVIAN, France — Laura Davies shot an 8-under 64 yesterday to lead Annika Sorenstam and two others by two strokes after the Evian Masters' opening round.

Michelle Wie was seven strokes off the pace of Laura Davies after the first round of the Evian Masters.

Associated Press

"It was just a nice day, and I was solid all the way," said Davies, who had an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey. "My caddie Paul Clifford's wife, Emma, gave me a putting lesson last week and it's worked out fine.

"If I keep putting like I did today, I've got a chance to win this thing," she said.

U.S. Women's Open winner Meg Mallon and 14-year-old amateur Michelle Wie of Hawai'i were at 71, part of a group in 25th place.

Sorenstam, tied with Lynette Brooky and Mara Prieto at the $2.5 million tournament, made four birdies on the front nine at the 6,192-yard Evian Masters Golf Club course.

"It's a great start," said Sorenstam, who birdied three of the four par-5s. "I took advantage of the par-5s. I had a real good feel today, hit it solid right from the start and was patient."

In sunny, windless conditions, with the greens soft and holding after an overnight storm, Davies hit a 2-iron to 6 feet to eagle the par-5 ninth.


Today, 11 a.m., Golf Channel

Davies said watching the men's British Open last week as a TV commentator allowed her to pick up some tips for her game.

"It was watching the guys play last week that really helped me today," she said. "Their rhythm, just how easy they hit the ball. I picked something up about their tempo and kept it in mind here."

Wie, who will be a sophomore at Punahou School in Honolulu, drew a gallery of several hundred fans at an event where attendance is usually sparse for the first round.

She had an up-and-down day. Starting off well, she hit a wedge to 18 feet to birdie the par-4 first hole, and hit a 5-iron to 9 feet for birdie at the par-3 8th. She made the turn at 2-under 34.

On the back nine, she hooked a 7-iron out of bounds at the par-4 12th for double bogey, and missed from 2 feet to three-putt the par-3 14th.

She salvaged her round with birdies at the par-5 15th and 18th holes for a 1-over 37.

"I don't care about what the score or my position is," Wie said. "I'm just happy to have made so many good putts today for par."

Mallon, Wie and Aree Song are paired together for today's second round.