Groans and moans as Wie's challenge fades

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 May, 2006, 12:00am

In the end she came up well short of the hopes and expectations of a nation and an army of reporters, photographers and TV crews, but the magic of Michelle Wie captivated everyone this week at the rain-shortened SK Telecom Open.

Wie's expected final-round charge started in spectacular fashion with two birdies on the first four holes, but then fizzled out on the fourth hole and fifth holes with a pair of disappointing bogeys. The groans from the packed gallery echoed around the course as the 16-year-old began to fade in a tournament won by Thailand's Prom Meesawat.

In reality Wie was unlucky on both holes, as her ball ended up in a bougainvillea bush on the edge of a water hazard on the par-three fourth, and on the fifth she reached the middle of the fairway but found her ball lying in a divot. Her second shot landed on the front of the green from where she three-putted for a bogey five.

To her credit, Wie made no excuses for failing to finish higher up the leaderboard, and said she would simply have to practise harder. 'My irons were not really very good today, I really need to practise more on the range,' she said. 'My tempo was also not very good today so I struggled quite a bit more than I expected to.

'I'm certainly not satisfied with my score today [74] but I think the most important thing is that I tried my best. I'm very happy that I made the cut, and that was my first goal. Now I want to go to the next level and make the cut in a USPGA Tour event. Actually I want to make the cut and finish in the top 10 in a US PGA Tour event.'

Wie banked US$4,350 for her three days of work - plus a reported US$750,000 appearance fee.

Meesawat, who finished 12 shots ahead of Wie, took home US$127,500.