Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 9:54 p.m., Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Wie shoots first-round 70

Associated Press

INCHEON, South Korea — Michelle Wie putted well Thursday during a first-round, 2-under-par 70 at the SK Telecom Open, remaining in contention for making her first cut at a men's tournament.

The Hawaiian-born teenager was five strokes off the early clubhouse leader in her eighth men's tournament after Australia's Adam Le Vesconte shot a 65. Malaysia's Iain Steel, Lee Sung-ho of South Korea and Australian Brad Kennedy were two strokes back.

Wie got a good start after teeing off from the back nine in mild, early-morning conditions at the Sky 72 Golf Club by birding the 10th.

She went on to make three more birdies, including two after the turn on Nos. 1 and 2.

Wie blamed her approach shots for not going lower.

"I just got really bad lies, like on the 16th I had a really bad lie and on the par-5 18th," the 16-year-old said. "So it was just kind of bad luck on the chips, but I felt like I putted very well coming back."

Wie's two bogies of the day were also unlucky.

After her tee shot on the par-4 17th nestled beside a rake — which had to be removed — Wie miscued her approach to send the ball rolling down a hill and into a water hazard.

Her penalty drop was placed on the slope and she deftly chipped to within 2 feet to salvage bogey.

Wie hit into a bunker on the par-5 6th, then saw her 15-foot putt roll to the lip of the cup before it ran out of steam, drawing sighs from the 300-plus gallery of mostly Koreans.

Wie, who in March finished third at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first LPGA major, has South Korean parents and has been adopted by Korean fans as their own.

If she makes the cut after Friday's second round, she will be the second woman to do so at a Korean tournament. LPGA star Se Ri Pak finished tied for 10th at the KPGA Tour's SBS Pro-Golf Championship in 2003.

The $600,000 SK Telecom Open is sanctioned by the Asian Tour.