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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 26, 2006

Storylines make for compelling tourney

 •  Wie's big rally falls short

By Bill Kwon
Special to The Advertiser

Morgan Pressel was disappointed with her final round in which she was paired with fellow teen Michelle Wie.

JOAQUIN SIOPACK | The Honolulu Advertiser

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KAPOLEI There were three compelling stories in the inaugural Fields Open in Hawai'i:

  • Would it be a repeat of last week's SBS Open at Turtle Bay with a South Korean golfer winning in a playoff?

  • How would Michelle Wie and Morgan Pressel, playing together for the same time as professionals, do in their tournament within a tournament in yesterday's final round?

  • The LPGA Tour vs. the Media, Round One.

    The results are in.

    Yes, there was a sequel to the Korean drama as Meena Lee beat Seon-Hwa Lee in a playoff after both shot 54-hole scores of 202. But it took three extra holes instead of two and there was no jumping in the lake this time as Joo Mi Kim did last week at Turtle Bay.

    As for Michelle vs. Morgan, if it were match play, Wie would have won, 4 and 2. Meanwhile, a disappointed Pressel was left teary-eyed. Tears flowed freely enough that a bystander held a box of tissue for her by the scorer's tent at the 18th green.

    Don't read too much into any rivalry between Wie and Pressel. The latter was disappointed by how she played, not at Wie getting the better of her yesterday.

    They talked freely with each other during the round and shared hugs with playing partner Sherri Turner after it ended.

    "They said, 'good job,' and 'nice round' and stuff like that. They were very encouraging," Wie said.

    "(Pressel) struggled a bit at the end, but she's a talented player. She'll do very well this year," said Wie, adding that it was great playing with Pressel.

    The LPGA is championing Pressel and Japan's Ai Miyazato as the possible heir apparent to Paula Creamer, the 2005 rookie of the year.

    The LPGA can't really promote Wie because she's not a tour member. Just the second best player in the world her likely promotion after her showing yesterday at Ko Olina if you believe the next Rolex Women's World Rankings.

    Rather, the LPGA needs to promote itself after losing its conflict with the media over the new policy in issuing credentials.

    Whoever came up with the idea of restricting the media from using their own stories and photos in an LPGA event without the tour's consent needs to take a mulligan.

    It was a try that was totally out of bounds.

    It cost the LPGA local and national coverage of the first round of the Fields Open with no one asking Lorena Ochoa about her tournament-record 64 or snapping photos of Wie.

    Bet that made Fields, the tournament's title sponsor, happy.

    And it's not exactly what the LPGA had in mind to start what it calls will be an exciting new season.