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Wie's game plan proves to be her downfall

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:19 a.m. HST, Apr 07, 2014

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. » Lexi Thompson went after it at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, smashing driver on every hole she could. Michelle Wie reined in her power, hitting conservative fairway-metal stingers and only occasionally letting loose with the driver.

Thompson ended up cannonballing into Poppie's Pond late Sunday afternoon in the traditional victory leap, while Wie was left to wonder about her strategy.

"I play this course very aggressively," the 19-year-old Thompson said. "I didn't want to change the way I played the last few days because my driver won't get me in any trouble on a lot of the holes. So, laying back wouldn't really make sense."

Thompson closed with a bogey-free, 4-under 68 for a three-stroke victory over Wie, birdieing four of the first nine holes to open a five-stroke lead and parring the final nine.

Wie birdied the final hole for a 71. She used her driver only four times, choosing to hit fairway woods on the other 10 driving holes -- leaving her as much as 60 yards behind Thompson. When both hit 3-woods, Thompson also had the advantage.

"I stuck with my game plan and I think it was the right play," Wie said. "Who knows? In hindsight you would do something here or do something there, make a putt there. That's the way golf is. I just couldn't get anything going today."

Thompson finished at 14-under 274 at Mission Hills for her fourth LPGA Tour victory. She opened with a 73, shot a tournament-best 64 on Friday and had a 69 on Saturday to tie Wie for the lead at 10 under. Thompson had only one bogey -- when she missed a 3-footer on the par-5 18th Saturday.

"I thought I played OK," said Wie, 24, who last won in 2010. "I'm just proud of myself for how the week went."

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Wazdat wrote:
Wie sure does not have it when it counts. Too bad was hoping she would have turned into a winner. I guess making millions for not having to win is not bad at all.
on April 7,2014 | 02:17AM
BH90210 wrote:
Try $25 million just sittin... Can thank Tiger for that... Try getting that today... More than all her LPGA pros...
on April 7,2014 | 03:02AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Michelle Wie EARNED $187,000 this weekend. How much did you make?
on April 7,2014 | 08:50AM
Psyche wrote:
on April 7,2014 | 11:40AM
lokela wrote:
Her putting was a little bit off. Otherwise I think she would have had a better chance of winning. But at least she is in contention a lot more this year.
on April 7,2014 | 05:21AM
Bdpapa wrote:
I am very proud of Michelle. She played a very good player pretty tight. A few mental errors hurt her. Even when defeat was inevitable, she hung in there and made some great shots. What a class act. After the round she was composed and congratulated Thompson and was very professional.
on April 7,2014 | 06:12AM
tjn wrote:
Yes, Lexi's "bomb and gouge" game certainly worked this week. However it looks like Michelle's game is now developing with many types of shots in her bag - and her poise and confidence are more evident - so I think she's in store for some very good things ahead. With a more all-around and seasoned game, she'll be able to handle more adverse conditions, and be able to draw on a variety of shots when she needs them. She needs her mental game to remain confident. I'm pulling for her..!!!
on April 7,2014 | 06:22AM
Torchwood wrote:
Wie played well but was just a bystander in the final round waiting for the leader to make a mistake rather than trying to make something happen for herself. This is a Major and you don't go after it?! A disappointing journeyman's effort.
on April 7,2014 | 06:46AM
huponews wrote:
Lexi, played lights out golf yesterday, so you can't fault Michelle. Could've used her driver a lot more but sometimes that doesn't work out either and your score is worse. She did her best on prime time and she has come a long way....better things to come...go girl!
on April 7,2014 | 07:19AM
Readitnow wrote:
I agree. Lexi was a girl on fire in the front 9. I like Michelle's new game plan because it makes her game more controlled and will keep her in contention for a soon to be win. Control that putter and it'll be all her's!!! Money isn't everything … but, losing with $187k isn't bad. Not at all. GO Michelle!!!
on April 7,2014 | 07:59AM
kiragirl wrote:
The LPGA is weak. A 16 year old is ranked 4th. Young women are winning most tournaments. The golf courses are set up "short" and easy so accuracy outweighs distance. If all golf courses were set up like Mission Hills, then all those slow motion LPGA swings will be non-existent. Then MW winning percentage would definitely increase.
on April 7,2014 | 08:38AM
gobows wrote:
Wie charged the hole with her putter after putting it short the hole before. How many times have we done that playing a round of golf. Makes her seem almost human.
on April 7,2014 | 09:45AM
jankenpo wrote:
Michelle Wie is human. Her weakness at putting has always been her problem. She played what she thought was the correct game plan but many will tell you, she was too cerebral. She could have just taken over the golf course physically without thinking too much. Many mention the money she made even at second place. But ask any true golfer, it's not about the money, it's about the title, especially a "major". I won't say that Michelle will win, but she should win. I hope she does. We all know she's got the talent and the skills....just don't let the mind get in the way. Good luck Michelle....see you in Hawaii.
on April 7,2014 | 10:20AM
808comp wrote:
At 19 Thompson has already won 4 tournaments and one is a major. Next one to watch for is Lydia Ko. Getting younger and younger.
on April 7,2014 | 09:50AM
kiragirl wrote:
As I mentioned, it is because the LPGA is weak. Ko is ranked 4th. A 16 year old boy would not even be in the PGA tour.
on April 7,2014 | 10:26AM
saveparadise wrote:
You did great Michelle! You kept the ball in play and beat all the highest ranked players in the WORLD! It was Lexi's time and no one was going to beat her unless she beat herself. Any competitive golfer that watched you play the back nine would know that you played your heart out. Go Michelle! You are still the major attraction and we are rooting for you.
on April 7,2014 | 10:01AM
eastside808 wrote:
Nothing wrong with her game plan except that maybe take a little more chances on the driveable holes as opposed to using he 3 wood especially on the back nine. If none on the back, then she played her percentages. Lexi could have easily fallen apart if her driver started straying and Michelle would have waltzed in, but it didnt happen yesterday. Michelle's game seems to be coming around. She probably needs to focus on making all her 5-10 putts and getting her driver going again. She's made all the cuts this year so things are looking up for her.
on April 7,2014 | 10:18AM
primowarrior wrote:
There are lots of people out there wondering about Wie's strategy on Sunday, but I think Michelle knows her own game and what's working and not working better than anyone else. Wie can hit driver a long, long way, but she is also often wild off the tee with that club. Michelle's approach shots to the green are one of her strengths, and maybe she felt that she needed to be hitting them from the fairway in order to give herself more birdie opportunities. Those greens at Mission Hills looked pretty hard and fast, and a lot of shots from the rough didn't seem to hold. If Michelle hadn't missed several short putts, she would have been right in it, and maybe won. I'm looking forward to seeing how she plays here at the Lotte Championship week after next.
on April 7,2014 | 10:37AM
Husky77 wrote:
Michelle did better than anyone predicted going into the tournament. She showed that she has the game to win a major. She was only one of three golfers who finished in the top 10 to shoot under par. Almost all her decision making was spot on, especially considering her lack of confidence in her driver. She was just a few short putts away from winning. She gave herself the best chance to win. This style is similar to Tiger's when he was winning most of his majors in this fashion. Lexi Thompson played the best final round of her career. There is no shame to losing to a performance like that. The future looks bright again for Michelle.
on April 7,2014 | 10:45AM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
She played well. Sometimes, the other guy (girl) just plays better. Her game is definitely on the up swing as she seems to be in contention weekly.
on April 7,2014 | 11:20AM
shcole wrote:
Might want to note that Michelle was well clear of the rest of the field...just give Lexi credit for playing great instead of dumping on Michelle. Sometimes someone WINS, it isn't because someone lost.....Michelle played great all week, her putting is, always has been and may well always be suspect, but tee to green she is playing as well as anyone out there right now.
on April 7,2014 | 11:39AM
808noelani wrote:
I still can't understand why putting stats is rarely mentioned. In this game if you can't putt, you can't contend. Most of the time they only mention tee to green stats like driving distance, fairways hit, and greens in regulation. Putting is 50% of your game, and the most importance part of your game. And more importantly it is the last half, unlike tee to green which is the first half. Like they say it's not necessarily how you start but how you finish and you're not done until you hole out. Why do you think players like Ai Miyazato and Ji Yae Shin and recently even Inbee Park are not doing good? The reason is putting.
on April 7,2014 | 12:29PM
Her game plan got her in second at a major. That is pretty good. Next time, her game plan might get her a win. Nothing wrong with that and its better than all the other women golfer in the world except one. Reminds me of when Tiger won the British open without using his driver. sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. Michelle did good.
on April 7,2014 | 02:57PM
jussayin wrote:
Lexi won the tournament by playing better than Wie. Wie played very well especially as compared to the last several years. For all the hype, unfortunately comes the attention and expectation. Wie has won only two tournaments. Lexi has won 4 and is 19 years old. For some fans, it'll take a while to fade some of her arrogant comments such as "my ultimate goal is to play in the Masters". Her unique putting style seems to be working so this could be her best year.
on April 7,2014 | 09:40PM
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