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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 26, 2006

Wie faces PGA pros in Open qualifier

Advertiser Staff

Michelle Wie is trying to become the first female to qualify for the U.S. Open.

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Michelle Wie is expected to face a formidable field in her U.S. Open sectional qualifier June 5.

In fact, the field looks like a PGA Tour event.

According to Golf World, among those entered in the sectional at Canoe Brook CC in Summit, N.J. are Billy Andrade, Bernhard Langer, Len Mattiace, Mark O'Meara, Tom Pernice, Brett Quigley and Kevin Stadler.

O'Meara has more years as a pro than Wie has on earth 26 years to 16. He's also won 16 PGA Tour events.

Wie, who already is the first female to advance to the qualifier, is trying to become the first to qualify for the U.S. Open, which is scheduled for June 15 to 18 at Winged Foot in New York.

Fourteen sectional qualifying tournaments around the country will be held to fill about 75 spots for the Open.

The sectional that Wie is in could have as many as 156 entrants. Usually one spot is given for every 13 entrants. However, in 2004, 22 spots were given for 138 golfers at a qualifier at Canoe Brook.

Golf World reported that Wie would have to beat 85 percent of the field to advance. Competition is over 36 holes at the club's North Course (7,000 yards, par 72) and the club's South Course (6,700, par 70).

The reason Wie is competing at the New Jersey sectional instead of one on Kaua'i is because she will be playing in the McDonald's LPGA Championship in Bulle Rock, Md., the same week.

Proximity also might be the reason the New Jersey sectional is populated with PGA Tour players. The tour's previous stop is the Barclays Classic in Westchester County, N.Y.