Altvater: Wie falls short in LPGA KEB-HanaBank ChampionshipWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Michelle Wie might be finding her way back to the winners circle soon on the LPGA Tour. She posted three good rounds this week at the KEB-HanaBank Championship in Incheon, South Korea, but came up one shot short of making a playoff with Amy Yang and Hee Kyung Seo.
Wie posted the low round of the day, a six-under par 66 and finished at eight-under par for her three rounds. She did not make a bogey in her final round and posted four birdies over her last six holes.
Yang was the eventual winner. She birdied the first playoff hole and Seo could only manage a par.
Golf fans have been waiting for Wie to fulfill her enormous potential and dominate the women’s tour. She began garnering media attention as a mere 10-year-old golf prodigy in Hawaii.
Wie was the youngest woman ever to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur, an LPGA Tour event, and win the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship.
As a teenager she could hit her driver 270 yards, strike laser iron shots and putt beautifully.
Wie became a professional shortly before her 15th birthday, but was still too young to earn an LPGA Tour card. She and her parents decided to accept sponsor’s exemptions to LPGA as well as PGA tournaments and signed lucrative endorsement deals.
She finished second at the 2005 LPGA Championship and later that year tied for third at the Women’s British Open. In 2006 she tied for third at both the Kraft Nabisco and the U.S. Women’s Open. Those remain her best finishes in the women’s major tournaments.
Wie is still just 24 years old, has been a stand-out performer on three U.S. Solheim Cup teams and has two career LPGA Tour wins.
Since her graduation from Stanford in June last year, she has devoted more time to her golf game, but a balky putter has prevented her from winning.
She still is one of the longest drivers of the golf ball on the LPGA Tour and strikes precision iron shots.
Working with her longtime golf coach David Leadbetter, Wie has adopted an unusual putting style that seems to paying dividends for her.
In 23 starts in 2013 she has missed seven cuts, has two top-10 finishes and earned $300,000.
Hopefully her T-12 finish last week at the Sime-Darby LPGA tournament in Malaysia and this good performance in South Korea are indicative of a new and improved Michelle Wie.
Maybe we will even see her kissing trophies in the near future.