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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, September 9, 2006

Wie can't cut it at European Masters

Associated Press

"I'm still in shock," said Michelle Wie, who will play in a PGA event next week. "I didn't know what sport I was playing out there."

OLIVIER MAIRE | Associated Press

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CRANS-SUR-SIERRE, Switzerland Hawai'i's Michelle Wie said she was "shocked" after finishing last in her latest men's pro golf tournament, but she was already looking forward to playing in her next one.

Wie, 16, struggled to an 8-over 79 yesterday at the European Masters, missing the cut at a men's event for the ninth time in 10 attempts.

"I'm still in shock," Wie said. "I didn't know what sport I was playing out there. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed again. I really just couldn't get anything going."

She finished at 15-over 157 last of the 152 players who completed 36 holes. She was 22 shots off the lead shared by Andrew McLardy (65), Bradley Dredge (67) and Marcel Siem (67).

Wie said she looks forward to playing better against the men next week at the 84 Lumber Classic in Farmington, Pa.

"Now that I played a tournament this week, I feel I know what sport I'm playing," she said. "I'm really motivated for next week."

She expects her coach, David Leadbetter, to join her at the event.

"It makes me want to come back and show that I'm a better player than this," Wie said. "My view is that to get better on the men's tour and to be a better player, I have to keep playing men's events.

"If I just play women's events, I only get better at women's events. I feel I have a good balance now."

European Tour executive director George O'Grady has the final say in Wie's participation in future events.

"This experiment, I'm quite happy with it," O'Grady said. "I think we'll just evaluate this one first before we make further decisions in that respect. I don't think she played as well as she would have wanted to play. She's a young, phenomenal talent who probably hasn't played to her potential."

O'Grady said he would have been surprised had Wie made the cut.

"I think it's daunting here," he said. "I share what she said on her short game. If you miss fairways, you put a lot of pressure on your short game. And she missed a few fairways."

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell said he didn't think Wie should have played.

"This is not a golf course I would have said she could play," he said. "She had no chance around here. And I just don't think women can compete against the men."

After bogeys on her first two holes yesterday, Wie took double-bogey 7s on successive par-5s. Starting her round at the 10th, she hit her third shot into the middle of the lake at the 598-yard 14th.

Then Wie drove out of bounds at the 15th.

While Wie had a double-bogey and three bogeys on the five par-3 Thursday, she dropped only two strokes on those holes yesterday.

"My bunker play was better and I putted better," she said. "But I wish I had a little more feel for the game before I came here. It was not my day."

Wie played at the urging of her sponsor, Swiss watchmaker Omega, which sponsors the tournament.

She said attending high school in Hawai'i for one week before arriving in Switzerland hampered her preparation.

Wie plans to play in Japan later this year in the Casio World Open, where she missed the cut last year.

Earlier this year, Wie survived the cut in a men's event at the SK Telecom Open in South Korea, finishing 12 shots off the lead.