Wie finishes out of title contention in South Korea

Updated: May 7, 2006, 7:51 PM ET
Associated Press

INCHEON, South Korea -- Michelle Wie made the cut, then came up short. Now South Korea's "big sister" wants to take the next step.

Wie shot a 2-over 74 Sunday to finish 12 strokes behind winner Prom Meesawat of Thailand at the rain-shortened SK Telecom Open, where she made the cut in a men's tournament for the first time in eight attempts.

"I did my best, but the result was not as satisfying as I would have liked," said the 16-year-old Wie. "But the most important thing is that I tried my best."

Wie, whose parents were born in South Korea, had two birdies and four bogeys for a 54-hole, 3-under 213 at the Asian Tour event. Her visit was treated like a homecoming by the public, which formed galleries of thousands and clogged an expressway to watch her play.

When Wie, known by her Korean name Wie Sung-mi, played the third hole Friday, a toddler in a flowery dress shouted encouragement for "on-ni (big sister)" as she strode by.

The Hawaiian-born Wie became the second woman to make the cut at a men's tournament in South Korea. LPGA star Se Ri Pak tied for 10th in the lower-tier KPGA Tour SBS Pro-Golf Championship in 2003.

Wie shot a 3-under 69 in the second round Friday to make the cut by five strokes and improve on her opening 70. She started the final round at 3 under, six strokes off the pace.

"I was really, really happy I've passed the first stage," Wie said. "Now I want to make the next step."

Wie heads to the U.S. Open qualifying round in Hawaii this month. She will attempt to make the cut in two PGA tournaments -- the John Deere Classic in July, where last year she fell two strokes short of the cut, and the 84 Lumber Classic in September.

"I have to practice my iron shots more," Wie said. "I have to work on them until the John Deere Classic."

Meesawat finished with a 68 and Indian Jeev Milkha Singh and Lee Seung-ho of South Korea shot final rounds of 70 to share second place at 12 under, one stroke ahead of defending champion K.J. Choi (65).

Heavy rain and strong wind forced the cancellation of the third round. Wie was at the tee when the rain hit Saturday, and after a delay of almost 3 hours, the course was declared unplayable.

Wie has played in four PGA Tour events and has competed on the Japan, Nationwide and Canadian tours, missing the 36-hole cut in all seven tournaments. No woman has made the cut on the PGA Tour since Babe Zaharias at the 1945 Tucson Open.

Annika Sorenstam, the world's top female player, became the first woman in 58 years to compete on the PGA Tour when she missed the cut at the Colonial in 2003, shooting rounds of 71 and 74.

Wie opened her final round confidently Sunday, with birdies on the second and third holes, moving her to 7 under despite wind that sent her early shots wide of the fairways and greens. Two bogeys later and she was back where she started.

On No. 4, Wie added a penalty stroke when her tee shot fell short of the green and rolled back across a hazard line within feet of the water. She then watched her 8-foot putt lip out on No. 5 and swung her club in frustration after forcing herself into a two-putt finish on No. 9.

The sweltering heat did little to help matters, and Wie went on to bogey the 11th and 15th.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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