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Wie wins first major at US Women's Open

By Doug Ferguson

AP Golf Writer

LAST UPDATED: 04:14 p.m. HST, Jun 22, 2014

PINEHURST, N.C. >>  Michelle Wie finally delivered a performance worthy of the hype that has been heaped on her since she was a teenager.

Wie bounced back from a late mistake at Pinehurst No. 2 to bury a 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole, sending the 24-year-old from Hawaii to her first major championship Sunday, a two-shot victory over Stacy Lewis in the U.S. Women's Open.

Wie closed with an even-par 70 and covered her mouth with her hand before thrusting both arms in the air.

Lewis, the No. 1 player in women's golf, made her work for it. She made eight birdies to match the best score of the tournament with a 66, and then was on the practice range preparing for a playoff when her caddie told her Wie had made the sharp-breaking birdie putt on the 17th.

Lewis returned to the 18th green to hug the winner after other players doused Wie with champagne.

What a journey for Wie, who now has four career victories -- all in North America, the first on the U.S. mainland -- and moved to the top of the LPGA money list after winning the biggest event in women's golf.

She has been one of the biggest stars in women's golf since she played in the final group of a major at age 13. Her popularity soared along with criticism when she competed against the men on the PGA Tour while still in high school and talked about wanting to play in the Masters.

That seems like a lifetime ago. The 6-foot Wie is all grown up, a Stanford graduate, popular among pros of both genders and now a major champion.

"Oh my God, I can't believe this is happening," Wie said.

It almost didn't. Just like her so much of her life, the path included a sharp twist no one saw coming. Wie started the final round tied with Amy Yang, took the lead when Yang made double bogey on No. 2 and didn't let anyone catch her the rest of the day.

In trouble on the tough fourth hole, she got up-and-down from 135 yards with a shot into 3 feet. Right when Lewis was making a big run, Wie answered by ripping a drive on the shortened par-5 10th and hitting a cut 8-iron into 10 feet for eagle and a four-shot lead.

She had not made a bogey since the first hole -- and then it all nearly unraveled.

From a fairway bunker on the 16th, holding a three-shot lead, she stayed aggressive and hit hybrid from the sand. After a three-minute search, the ball was found in a wiregrass bush that caused her to take a penalty drop behind her in the fairway. She chipped on to about 35 feet and rapped her bogey putt 5 feet past the hole.

Miss it and she would be tied.

Bent over in that table-top putting stance, she poured it in to avoid her first three-putt of the week. Smiling as she left the green, even though her lead was down to one, Wie hit 8-iron safely on the 17th green and holed the tough birdie putt. She pumped her fist, then slammed it twice in succession, a determination rarely seen when she was contending for majors nearly a decade ago as a teen prodigy.

"Obviously, there are moments of doubt in there," Wie said. "But obviously, I had so many people surrounding me. They never lost faith in me. That pushed me forward."

Wie finished at 2-under 278, the only player to beat par in the second week of championship golf at Pinehurst. Martin Kaymer won by eight shots last week at 9-under 271, the second-lowest score in U.S. Open history.

Lewis got within one shot of the lead with a birdie on No. 13, and after two bogeys, kept her hopes alive by finishing with back-to-back birdies.

"I knew I needed to get out early and post some numbers and make Michelle Wie earn it," Lewis said.

Stephanie Meadow of Northern Ireland made her pro debut by closing with a 69 to finish alone in third, earning $271,373. That should be enough to secure her LPGA Tour card for next season. Yang never recovered from her bad start and closed with a 74 to finish fourth.

Juli Inkster never got going, either. The 53-year-old Hall of Famer, playing in her 35th and final U.S. Women's Open, started four shots out of the lead and didn't make a birdie until the eighth hole. She closed with a 75 and tied for 15th.

She received a standing ovation walking up the 18th green, a remarkable career that includes three straight U.S. Amateur titles, two majors as a rookie, two daughters, and then seven more majors for the career Grand Slam.

"They were so pulling for me, but it's really hard to acknowledge them when you're 5 over par and struggling," Inkster said. "It was very nice, especially the reception on No. 1 tee and the reception on 18, and all around the golf course. It was great -- very, very, very honored."

And she was thrilled for Wie, who has endured already so much for someone so young. Wie is the same age Annika Sorenstam was when the Swede won her first major.

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GWakai02 wrote:
Congrats! Good job, awesome.
on June 22,2014 | 12:01PM
Readitnow wrote:
Yep, not a dry eye in the state. ?? Maybe in the world … could be.
on June 22,2014 | 01:12PM
1local wrote:
michelle does Hawaii proud. one of the few with a college degree. 'shaka' signs for all...
on June 22,2014 | 03:07PM
tigerwarrior wrote:
It's finally official--no one can accuse Wie of being the best LPGA golfer to have never won a major!!! Major win baby!!!
on June 22,2014 | 01:48PM
false wrote:
She earned it. Hard won but she gets the credit. Good one Michelle. How many grand daughters are lining up. Some not even here yet. We can try.
on June 22,2014 | 03:13PM
Poipounder808 wrote:
What a pressure birdie on 17 after the double bogey. Congrats Michelle, well deserved.
on June 22,2014 | 12:02PM
kiragirl wrote:
That double bogey putt too. That was no gimme.
on June 22,2014 | 12:06PM
stanx71 wrote:
You GO girl, Congrats
on June 22,2014 | 12:03PM
808comp wrote:
Congratulaltions! Fourth career win, and a major at that. First on US soil. More to come.
on June 22,2014 | 12:04PM
fbiguy wrote:
ah, hem....last I heard, Hawaii is US Soil, and she won a tournament here earlier this year...
on June 22,2014 | 12:14PM
hanalei395 wrote:
First on the continent soil. (Anyway, first on U.S. soil sounds good).
on June 22,2014 | 12:26PM
false wrote:
Good humorous comeback although I may not agree with you.
on June 22,2014 | 02:42PM
niimi wrote:
But Canada IS part of the North American continent. :-)
on June 22,2014 | 03:27PM
hanalei395 wrote:
There is continent soil, and Hawai'i soil. That's all you need to know. As I said, first on U.S. soil sounds good. (You didn't mention Mexico).
on June 22,2014 | 03:55PM
HaoleGuy wrote:
on June 22,2014 | 11:57PM
mulen wrote:
It wasn't a "major".
on June 22,2014 | 12:26PM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
Funny how the dialogue keeps changing with her haters. First, she can't win. Then she only won once. Then she hasn't won in the US (that one was laughable). Then she hasn't won a major. Next up of course will be she's only won ONE major! LOL.
on June 22,2014 | 04:33PM
Ruby1 wrote:
Or, she hasn't won in Kansas!
on June 22,2014 | 05:15PM
usahwn wrote:
Is Hawaii US soil ?
on June 22,2014 | 12:58PM
Readitnow wrote:
For the most part. Some sand from the Phillipines in some areas. Ha!
on June 22,2014 | 01:15PM
kiragirl wrote:
No stopping her now. Her confidence must be sky high. Nice Shaka sign she gave at the end.
on June 22,2014 | 12:05PM
kk808 wrote:
on June 22,2014 | 12:05PM
HawaiiMongoose wrote:
Great performance by Michelle!
on June 22,2014 | 12:08PM
BreadMan wrote:
Preserverance pays off. Good job!! You have many years ahead of you. Keep it up!
on June 22,2014 | 12:14PM
Ruby1 wrote:
Love this! Great putts at the end! You show them, Michelle!
on June 22,2014 | 12:14PM
primowarrior wrote:
Man, what a roller coaster ride from #16 to #17. The drama was incredible. Hope this opens the door for more to come. Congrats, Michelle!
on June 22,2014 | 12:17PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Wow! Great performance by Michelle. Anyone notice all the folks who were hating on Michelle on this site have suddenly disappeared?
on June 22,2014 | 12:19PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
on June 22,2014 | 01:33PM
BH1 wrote:
Yup. Hawaii has so many bandwagon'ers. First to critique and hate. Then they either go silent when success happens or they jump on the bandwagon. I for once would like to see a hater come online and simply post "I was wrong about Michelle..." But we all know that isn't gonna happen. Haters gonna hate.
on June 22,2014 | 01:41PM
tho808 wrote:
i think it was an eagle on the 17 puka.
on June 22,2014 | 12:21PM
Hawaii001 wrote:
Finally! And many more to come :)
on June 22,2014 | 12:22PM
paniolo wrote:
Congrats...many more victories to come in the future.
on June 22,2014 | 12:22PM
cojef wrote:
Love all the accolades being heaped on her now. She deserved the victory for keeping her poise although she had some scary holes. Matters not as only the victory counts. Hooray for the local girl that has finally won a "Major"! She has the confidence now so watch out!
on June 22,2014 | 02:47PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Great performance Michelle! Congratulations on winning the U.S. Women's Open - many more wins and major wins to come.
on June 22,2014 | 12:29PM
Mythman wrote:
When is she going to play a few rounds with Barry, who loves golfing himself.
on June 22,2014 | 12:41PM
false wrote:
You mean "mulligan" Barry?
on June 22,2014 | 02:45PM
cmots wrote:
Congrats! Soo well deserved first "major" champion!! Keep working hard & staying positive!!!
on June 22,2014 | 12:43PM
usahwn wrote:
She should try qualify for Masters .
on June 22,2014 | 01:00PM
wsato wrote:
Uh, no. Only way to do that is to either win on the mens' tour of be ranked in the top xx in the world. Been there, tried that. Go dominate the ladies' tour before trying that again. AND, she would HAVE to putt way better than she is now. No 3jabs, but a LOT of two-putt missed opps. Men convert
on June 22,2014 | 06:22PM
fiveo wrote:
Very happy for Wie. Good to see her win another major and she played strong all the way thru and did not crumble as in the past.
on June 22,2014 | 01:13PM
hanalei395 wrote:
fiveo just crumbled.
on June 22,2014 | 01:50PM
islandsun wrote:
Her mental game has improved since. Her putting has become a difference maker. With these combinations, she will be a force to be reckoned with and endorsements will probably flood in again.
on June 22,2014 | 01:52PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Her sponsors, Kia, Nike, Omega, etc. are happy. And a new sponsor, Salonpas? (If it was that, on her leg).
on June 22,2014 | 02:14PM
paniolo wrote:
I'm sure that is Kinesio tape. Many athletes use it now.
on June 22,2014 | 04:11PM
bullturd wrote:
Wow, I read four different media's news coverage, and word for word all four had exactly the same written story. I guess out sourcing for stories is now in place for some of the media's stories. Shame! I still have no answer on how much Michelle earned today.
on June 22,2014 | 01:13PM
atilter wrote:
how about - PRICELESS!
on June 22,2014 | 01:47PM
st1d wrote:
the media uses one pool reporter to cover women's golf and they only release the winnings for third place. it's a self esteem issue with male golfers. she won $721 with the large K.
on June 22,2014 | 02:44PM
808comp wrote:
How does 720K sounds.
on June 22,2014 | 03:12PM
Skyler wrote:
Good for win for Wie. She didn't cruise to victory, which makes it even better.
on June 22,2014 | 02:22PM
tutulois wrote:
YES !!!
on June 22,2014 | 02:43PM
rover wrote:
I'm in total agreement with you BH1 ~ "Haters will continue to hate"...Shaka right back at you Michelle! "HANA HOU"...
on June 22,2014 | 02:44PM
HOSSANA wrote:
Just hope, plez, plez, the parents, esp. the father, stays out of the picture and don't interfere with Michelle's journey on the golf tourney.
on June 22,2014 | 03:22PM
walkitout wrote:
So happy for Michelle Wie! To win her first major on one of the toughest courses and end up being the only person under par was simply awesome to watch. Gave me a heart attack on 16, but I admit to having tears in my eyes when she made that birdie on 17 and walked up to the 18th green to seal the deal! Congrats to Michelle and her caddy!
on June 22,2014 | 03:23PM
niimi wrote:
LOL, The haters are eating crow, or some form of crumble.
on June 22,2014 | 03:29PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Congratulations Miss Wei!

You have represented Hawaii well through your career, and me and my entire family are proud of you.

Well done!!!

on June 22,2014 | 03:38PM
rayhawaii wrote:
I hope she signed her card. Way to go Michelle!!!!!!!!
on June 22,2014 | 04:25PM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
The ending from 16 on was sort of how her professional career has gone. Cruising along nicely, then a huge bump in the road with the double at 16. But this time, a happy ending. Well done!
on June 22,2014 | 04:30PM
lyoza wrote:
Very good Miss Wie. Congrats. Proud from Hawaii.
on June 22,2014 | 04:31PM
ehrhornp wrote:
I am so happy for her. She deserves it. I am sure there will be lots more to come.
on June 22,2014 | 04:46PM
BoyHowdy11 wrote:
First major...hopefully, many more to come. Ironically, Annika Sorenstam also won her first of ten majors at the U.S. Women's Open at the age of 24.
on June 22,2014 | 06:10PM
Kapaho wrote:
Great win for Michelle and the LPGA. She's the female Tiger Woods and if she can continue to win, she'll open the door for female golfers to start earning more money compared to the men. This win has definitely boosted her confidence and hopefully more victories.
on June 22,2014 | 07:26PM
manoa111 wrote:
Interesting that no one re-told what the other golfers were saying: She has played better, feels better, etc because she moved to Florida full-time, far away from her parents. The Tour gals all spoke of the change being the reason she is doing well. Hard to argue with it now.
on June 22,2014 | 08:46PM
kimo wrote:
Michelle, I don't think there was a dry eye in the islands when you hit par on the 18th to finish at 2 under to win the US Women's Open. We're all so proud of you. You never, never gave up. You kept on believing in yourself. No matter the adversity, no matter the criticism, no matter the setbacks, no matter how long it took, you persevered. Yours is the heart of a warrior, and we rejoice with you.
on June 22,2014 | 08:48PM
mulen wrote:
I second all the above thoughts and words! My eye wasn't dry, and I don't even know Michelle and don't play golf either. Sky's the limit, Michelle!!!
on June 22,2014 | 09:14PM
eagleHI wrote:
Congratulations, Michelle! Outstanding Response(s) to Challenges and Adversity! Great Positivity TODAY AND Perserverence through the Tough Years! When Lead cut to One...EAGLE on Ten... Double Bogey @ 16? Answer with Your Only Birdie on 17! SMILING Through it ALL... Great SHAKA Signs, too #1 Bruno, Jack Johnson, Manti, President Obama YOU ARE Up there with 'em ALL! US Champion!
on June 22,2014 | 08:52PM
64hoo wrote:
don't put the commie Obama up there with those names.
on June 22,2014 | 10:06PM
eagleHI wrote:
You probably voted for "W"...As in Team WAR Criminals... Crimes In Any Color... Watch Out for YOUR Life Review...
on June 23,2014 | 02:45PM
808ikea wrote:
Her putting was unbelievable. The critics say it is unsightly, but man does it work. I can see this opening the flood gates for her future victories.
on June 22,2014 | 09:08PM