Newspaper article International New York Times

Michelle Wie's New Heights

Newspaper article International New York Times

Michelle Wie's New Heights

Article excerpt

After her breakthrough U.S. Open victory last month, the American star hopes to ride the momentum at the Women's British Open this week.

Although Michelle Wie will be making her ninth appearance at a Women's British Open Championship this week at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club, it will be a trip unlike all the others.

That is because Wie, 24, earned her first major title last month with a two-stroke victory at the U.S. Women's Open over her fellow American Stacy Lewis. As a result, Wie's eighth British Open start as a professional will also be her first as a major championship winner.

"Winning the U.S. Women's Open was a dream come true," Wie said recently by email. "It will really be something to be announced on the tee as the U.S. Women's Open champion."

Wie, a long-hitting player and No.6 in the Rolex World Ranking, appears to be heading into the L.P.G.A.'s third major championship at the top of her game. She has posted 10 top-10 finishes in 14 events this year, with two victories and a runner-up finish at the tour's first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April.

After four career victories and L.P.G.A. earnings of more than $4.5 million, Wie has been formidable this season, with a scoring average of 69.25 and 2014 earnings of more than $1.6 million. She leads the L.P.G.A. with 44 rounds under par in 54 starts.

The L.P.G.A. commissioner, Mike Whan, said: "I haven't seen the obituaries of 'whatever happened to Michelle Wie' in about a full year now. Everybody has seen her turn around in 2014, and I think winning the U.S. Women's Open was final validation that she is now ready to win a lot."

Wie acknowledges that heading to another major championship this week offers new incentive.

"There is definitely momentum in my game coming into this event," she said. "I'll be heading over there with really high expectations."

Wie won the low-amateur medal in her Women's British Open debut in 2005, and has played the championship as a professional every year since.

Her best finish at the Women's British was a tie for 11th at Royal Lytham and St. Annes in 2009, followed by a tie for 13th at the 2012 event at Royal Liverpool, and a tie for 17th in 2010, also at Royal Birkdale. …

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