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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 22, 2006

Wie gains third PGA exemption for 2006

Associated Press

Michelle Wie

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FARMINGTON, Pa. Michelle Wie has received a sponsor's exemption to play in the 84 Lumber Classic, giving the 16-year-old from Honolulu three starts on the PGA Tour this year.

Wie, who has not made the cut in seven previous times competing against men, will be part of the 144-player field Sept. 14 to 17 at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa, 84 Lumber spokesman Jeff Nobers said yesterday.

Wie's family has known 84 Lumber president Maggie Hardy Magerko for several years, and the company has been offering her an exemption to the tournament since she was 13. This will be the final year of the 84 Lumber Classic, which recently decided to give up its summer date on the new PGA Tour schedule that starts in 2007.

Wie, a junior at Punahou School, has not made the cut in four starts on the PGA Tour. Her last attempt was in January at the Sony Open in Hawai'i, where she missed by four shots after rounds of 79-68.

Wie will play against the men in two weeks in South Korea in the Asian Tour's SK Telecom Open, and also has accepted an exemption to play in the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic in July.

She previously has played against the men on the Canadian, Nationwide and Japanese tours. No female has made the cut on the PGA Tour since Babe Zaharias in 1945.

"I guess if it attracts attention to the tournament, it's good for the tournament," Olin Browne said from the Houston Open.

Still, Browne said her sixth exemption to a PGA Tour event could create some resentment, especially from the first alternate, who might need that tournament to help keep his card.