KAHUKU, Hawaii – Michelle Wie has been competing against men since she was 12, and still feels slightly uneasy about it.
But Wie looked totally comfortable Monday when she moved a step closer in her long-shot bid to become the first female player to qualify for the U.S. Open, shooting an even-par 72 to win a local qualifier.
“Playing with the men, I’m not sure what’s going to happen. It puts me in an almost uncomfortable place,” she said. “That’s what makes me a better player.”
The USGA believes she is the first woman to get through local qualifying for the U.S. Open. Wie and two other players advanced to sectional play next month, with Wie saying she will play in the June 5 36-hole sectional at Canoe Brook in Summit, N.J.
“The possibility of playing at Winged Foot? It’s the U.S. Open, the name speaks for itself,” Wie said. “It’s one of a kind.”
After the sectional, Wie will play in the LPGA Championship in Havre de Grace, Md.
Playing on her home island of Oahu in front of about two dozen people, Wie was steady for most of her round on the breezy, oceanside Palmer Course at Turtle Bay Resort, but missed a couple of short putts. She had four birdies and four bogeys.
Michelle’s qualifying for the Open is far from a given. Sectional qualifying is much more difficult. She’ll be competing against PGA tour members. If I were to make a prediction, it’s that Michelle won’t qualify for the Open at Winged Foot.
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