Wiesy almost does it, falls shot short of cut

HONOLULU -- This is one time a 14-year-old girl dreads
having the weekend off.

Michelle Wie battled to the very end Friday, making two birdies
on her final three holes for a 2-under 68 that left her one shot
short of making the cut in the Sony Open.

"I cannot believe it," Wie said, exasperated that her even-par
140 wasn't enough to play on the weekend.

Maybe another time -- like, soon.

The youngest player in the PGA Tour record books, Wie posted the
lowest score ever by a female competing against the men. Se Ri Pak
had a 3-under 69 last year in the third round of the SBS Super
Tournament on the Korean PGA Tour, where she tied for 10th.

Wie didn't realize the cut was at 1-under 139 until she finished
her round.

"I thought I just had to make birdie," she said. "They said
it was 139, and I added 70 and 70 together and was like, 'Oh, no.
This is NOT happening."'

Her round was about as good as she could have shot. Wie saved
par on eight holes, and two of her birdies Friday at Waialae
Country Club were from at least 50 feet.

Still, it left a strong field at the Sony Open in awe.

"It's pretty incredible," former Sony Open winner Jerry Kelly
said. "She's opening the door."

She tied for 80th, and finished ahead of 47 others.

Wie plans to play six LPGA Tour events this year -- she made the
cut in six out of seven last year, two of them majors. When asked
if she would like another sponsor's exemption to the Sony Open, the
teenager in her came out.

"What do you think?" she said with a catty smile.

Craig Bowden shot 64 playing with Wie, a round only his wife
will remember.

Wie returns to the ninth grade at nearby Punahou School, but she
left quite an impression -- not only with her 68, but the strong
finishing kick.

Despite a good chip to save par on No. 15, Wie had to play the
final three holes in 3 under to make the cut.

She didn't go down without a fight.

With the sun setting over Diamond Head, Wie belted her longest
drive of the week, 311 yards down the middle. Her approach stopped
15 feet beyond the cup, and she holed it for her sixth birdie of
the week.

She pulled her tee shot on the 189-yard 17th, the ball bouncing
off the grandstand into the rough about 100 feet from the flag.
Fighting to the end, she pitched to 4 feet and saved par for the
eighth time in the round.

Wie needed an eagle on the final hole to make the cut, and she
gave herself a chance with another big drive, leaving herself 252
yards to the hole.

She got her 5-wood a little too much in the air and it landed
softly in front of the green, rolling into the first cut of rough.
With a packed grandstand quietly watching, her chip for eagle
headed to the hole and turned away, running about 4 feet by to end
her hopes of making the cut.

What did she learn from the week?

"I learned what the PGA does -- they made the sand a lot
fluffier and the greens a lot faster," Wie said.

It still wasn't enough to make a 14-year-old girl play like one.

Nearly 5,000 people -- a larger crowd than the Sony Open usually
gets for the final pairing Sunday -- followed her around Waialae,
and PGA Tour players stopped on the range to watch when she came up
the ninth hole.

"I played with her on Tuesday, and she wasn't feeling well and
wasn't playing well," Paul Azinger said as Wie played the back
nine. "I thought she'd get waxed out here, but she's proving me
wrong. I'd like to see her make a few birdies and make the cut."

Wie was trying to become the first female in 59 years to make
the 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event.

Babe Zaharias did it at the 1945 Los Angeles Open, then shot 76
and failed to qualify for the final round. No other women played on
the PGA Tour until Annika Sorenstam last year at the Colonial.

Sorenstam had rounds of 71-74 to miss the cut by four shots.
Connecticut club pro Suzy Whaley qualified for the Greater Hartford
Open last year, but missed the cut by 13 shots.

This one came down to the very last hole, although it's
difficult to compare Wie with Sorenstam.

Sorenstam had enormous pressure. She was the first woman in 58
years on the PGA Tour, and faced intense scrutiny for three months
leading to her opening tee shot. Plus, Sorenstam already was
established as the best player of her generation, and expectations
were high.

Still, Waialae (7,060 yards) and Colonial (7,080 yards) are
similar in length.

The Sony Open had a stronger field, featuring Vijay Singh, Ernie
Els and Davis Love III among six of the top eight players in the

And remember, Wie is in the ninth grade.

"If she makes it, that will be a lifetime achievement on this
tour," Els said after he finished his round.

She was one shot away.

As fans streamed out of Waialae, they ran to the scoreboard to
see if she made the cut, then slumped their shoulders and quietly
filed out the gates.