Battered and bruised but never broken when living her life among adults as first a child and then a teen prodigy, a resurgent and content Michelle Wie won the biggest tournament of her life on Sunday on the biggest stage in women’s golf.
At tiring Pinehurst No. 2 in the cradle of American golf, a seasoned Wie survived a double-bogey 6 on the 70th hole and held on for a two-stroke victory over world No. 1 Stacy Lewis to win the 69th U.S. Women’s Open in the Carolina Sandhills.
Calm and collected even when she nearly lost her ball on the 16th hole where she had to take a penalty drop, Wie bounced back with a birdie on the 17th hole from 20 feet and wrapped up her fourth LPGA tour title and first major championship with a par on the final hole with two putts from 20 feet.
Her unique table-top putting stroke, which caught everyone off guard when she started employing it last year, worked this week as she didn’t three-putt once in the entire tournament and had 25 one-putts.
“Life is just so ironic,” said Wie, who was 15 when she was tied for the lead after 54 holes in the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open before fading and nearly won three majors when she was 16. “Without your downs, without the hardships, I don’t think you appreciate the ups as much as you do. I think the fact that I struggled so much, the fact that I kind of went through a hard period of my life, the fact that this trophy is right next to me, it means so much more to me than it ever would have when I was 15.”
With rounds of 68-68-72 and a final-round even-par 70, Wie finished at 2-under-par 278 for the tournament.
Lewis, a two-time major champion, closed with a tournament-tying low round of 66 to finish at even-par 280. Stephanie Meadow, playing in her first tournament as a pro, shot 69 to finish in third.
“Oh, my God, I can’t even think straight,” Wie said. “I’m just unbelievably happy. I’m so honored to have my name on the trophy.”
Source: USA Today | Steve DiMeglio