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Michelle Wie

From Academic Kids

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Michelle_Wie.jpg
Michelle Wie at age 14.

Michelle Wie (born October 11, 1989) is an up-and-coming player in the world of competitive golf. She is 15 years old.

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii of Korean descent, she began playing the game of golf at the age of four. In 2000, at the age of ten, she became the youngest player to qualify for a USGA amateur championship when she made the field at the USGA Women's Amateur Public Links Championship. Two years later, she would be a semifinalist at the same event, the youngest to ever do so.

In 2002, Wie became the youngest player to qualify for an LPGA event, the LPGA Takefuji Classic. In 2003, she shot a 66 in a round at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, tying the amateur record for a women's major championship. She also won the Women's Amateur Public Links in 2003, becoming the youngest person ever to win a USGA event for adults.

On January 15, 2004, Michelle Wie became only the fourth woman (and the youngest ever) to play in an event on the main U.S based men's golf tour, the PGA TOUR, at the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club near Diamond Head in Hawaii. She shot rounds of 72 and 68 to finish at even par, missing the cut by one stroke.

The same year she also became the first amateur to receive a special exemption to the US Women's Open, a decision which led to some division in the women's golf community. The invite was based on her theoretical position on the money list, which would have given her automatic qualification had she been a professional. She finished T13 in the tournament.

Wie was named to the U.S. team for the 2004 Curtis Cup, a team competition similar to the Ryder Cup, in which teams of amateur women from the U.S. and Great Britain compete. She became the youngest woman ever to appear in that competition; the U.S. team won the event. She also finished fourth in the 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship, finishing four shots behind winner Grace Park. If she had played the 2004 season as a professional, she would have earned over a quarter of a million dollars.

Wie started her 2005 season on the LPGA Tour with her best finish yet, second at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay. That June she came second at the LPGA Championship, one of the women's majors, and a few days later she became the first female golfer to qualify for a USGA national men's tournament, when she tied for first place in a 36-hole qualifier for the US Amateur Public Links Championship.

The 6-foot-tall (1.83 m) Wie, still only at the age of 15, has a average drive of about 280 yards (which is 25 yards further than Annika Sörenstam's average), and regularly is able to hit drives of over 300 yards, modeling her swing after Ernie Els, who has said of her, "give her another couple years to get stronger, she can play on the PGA TOUR." Her size and use of Els as a model have led sports media to call her The Big Wiesy, a play on Els' nickname of The Big Easy. Fred Couples has also praised her, saying, "when you see her hit a golf ball ... there's nothing that prepares you for it. It's just the scariest thing you've ever seen."

Results in LPGA majors

Tournament 2003 2004 2005
Kraft Nabisco Championship T9 4 T14
LPGA Championship DNP DNP 2
U.S. Women's Open T39 T13
Women's British Open DNP DNP

DNP = did not play
"T" indicates a tie for a place.

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