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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 10:28 a.m., Saturday, July 29, 2006

Wie finishes second, earns $255,333

Advertiser Staff

Honolulu's Michelle Wie came close, again.

The 16-year-old Punahou School senior held a two-shot lead over Karrie Webb with seven holes to play only to see Webb, her playing partner, rally with three birdies down the stretch to beat Wie by one shot and win the $3 million, 72-hole Evian Masters Saturday in Evian-les-bains, France.

Wie shot a final-round 4-under-par 68 to finish in a tie with Laura Davies at 15-under 273.

Webb, who started the day one shot ahead of Wie, carded a final-round 4-under 68 to finish 16-under 272 overall and earn the $450,000 first prize.

For Wie, it was again a case of close-but-no-victory. She now has eight top 5 finishes in her past nine tournaments as she searches for her first LPGA win.

"When I look back at it, I could not have played harder today," said Wie in an interview posted on lpga.com.

"I played every shot as best as I could. I feel like I played a great round today and shot 4-under."

Wie earned $255,333 and now has earned $700,284 in six LPGA events this year.

"Well, I feel like I have played very consistently lately and that is good because I feel like I am getting very, very close," she said. "I feel like today is the closest I have ever gotten and I was playing well until the end. I was very aggressive until the end and I am very proud of myself for playing this continuously. I think it is an achievement on its own."

The final round was filled with drama.

Four different golfers -- Webb, Wie, Davies and Lorena Ochoa -- held outright or shared first place at one point on a fluctuating scoreboard.

Wie tied Webb for the lead with a birdie on the first hole. But she fell back into a third-place tie behind Webb and Ochoa, who got hot.

Ochoa, playing two groups ahead of Wie's group that included Webb and Davies, double-eagled the par-5 ninth hole to tie Webb and jump ahead of Wie by a shot.

But when Wie eagled the par-5 ninth, Webb birdied it, and Ochoa bogeyed the 10th, Wie was back into a first-place tie with Webb.

Davies stayed close with a birdie on No. 10. But Wie went two shots ahead of Webb and Davies when she birdied the par-4 No. 11 and Webb bogeyed.

Webb and Davies closed the gap with birdies on the par-4 No. 12. Wie fell into a three-way tie when she bogeyed the par-4 No. 13.

Webb then recaptured the lead with a birdie on the par-3 No. 14 hole and never trailed again. Meanwhile, Mi Hyun Kim carded six birdies, including two in the final three holes, to vault into contention behind Wie and Davies. Kim shot 66 and finished fourth, a shot behind Wie and Davies. Ochoa finished fifth after carding a 67.

Webb added another birdie on the par-3 No. 17 to give herself a two-shot cushion with one hole to play.

Wie and Davies both birdied the par-5 18th but could only watch as Webb parred the hole for the victory.

Wie had birdies on the par-4 No. 1 and No. 3 holes and a bogey on the par-4 No. 4. She eagled the par-5 No. 9 to make the turn at 4-under 33 for the round.

Below is a recap of Wie's key holes:

Hole 1, 360-yard par 4: birdie 56-degree wedge to two feet

Hole 3, 355-yard par 4: birdie pitching wedge to four feet

Hole 4, 367-yard par 4: bogey 52-degree wedge short to 45 feet, three-putt, missed four-foot par putt

Hole 9, 460-yard par 5: eagle driver, 7-iron to 35 feet

Hole 11, 351-yard par 4: birdie 9-iron to six feet

Hole 13, 388-yard par 4: bogey driver right into a bunker, 9-iron into another bunker, 60-degree wedge short to 24 feet, two-putt

Hole 18, 467-yard par 5: birdie drive left, 6-iron into greenside bunker, 60-degree wedge to four feet

Lpga.com and The Associated Press contributed to this report.