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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Taking life one stroke at a time

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Columnist

KAHUKU As much as the SBS Open at Turtle Bay and LPGA might lament the absence of Michelle Wie from the marquee of tomorrow's season-opening tour event, the defending champion clearly isn't.

"I didn't even know she's not here," Jennifer Rosales said in apparent amazement yesterday. "Where is she?"

Told the 16-year-old was likely in class at Punahou School, and would play next week's Fields Open at Ko Olina, Rosales said: "Well, see you next week. We'll do lunch. Yeah, we'll do lunch. We're tight."

No Wie? No Annika Sorenstam? No lack of challengers? No problem for the blissfully unconcerned Rosales, who, for now at least, also wasn't going to let a little thing like not getting in a practice hole, never mind a round, interfere with her day. Or the post-lunch nap.

Rosales' no-fears, que-sera-sera approach helped her survive a closing pack and the winds of the North Shore for a two-shot victory over Wie and Christie Kerr last year. This year, the Philippines native figures she'll leave her fate to the same luck. After all, why worry?

"Why should you. I mean, you know?" Rosales said. "I didn't take it seriously last year. No, it is just that I didn't want to pressure myself because I'm defending. To me, it's just another tournament. It's hard to defend it, you know. But I'm just going to come out there and whatever happens, it happens. I can't control it."

Never mind that a precocious class of 37 rookies, including 17-year-old Morgan Pressel and 20-year-old Ai Miyazato of Japan, awaits. Or that the twentysomethings and teens with their aggressive confidence "make her feel old," said Rosales, who describes her age as "3-under. That's 3-under 30."

Rosales has played just one round of competitive golf since early December and describes her preparedness as "I'm getting there. I'm not ready, like ready. With that in mind, she was supposed to get in at least nine holes yesterday. Well, that was the plan, anyway.

"I tried ... trust me," Rosales said. "I tried. I made a tee time at 11:40 a.m. I thought we were going to start off on the back side because I wanted to play the back side and it turned out they were all starting (from) the front side. So we tried to squeeze in there, tried to get a spot, but we just couldn't. We waited there for 45 minutes on the 10th tee. There were too many players ... then we decided to eat. And, now that I'm full, I'm going to go back to my room."

After all, today is another day and in the world according to Rosales, one without worry well, almost.

"I just need one 18 (-hole round of practice) the pro-am (today)," Rosales said. "Hope it doesn't get canceled. Downpour or something. Then I'm (out of luck)."

When it comes to playing at Turtle Bay, luck has so far been a faithful companion.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8044.