You remember Michelle Wie, yes? As a 13-year old, she played in the finals of the Kraft Nabisco and became the poster girl for women’s golf for the longest time. Turning professional at just 15 years old, she toured for five years, winning two LPGA tournaments and even tried to compete on the men’s golf circuit… although she only made the cut in one of the 12 events she entered.
Then there was all of the endorsements for millions of dollars and the pressure got way too much. Taking an early retirement from professional golf, she headed back to college and earned a degree from Stanford University in 2012.
But she’s back and, so far this season, her lowest placement in the six tournaments she’s entered has been 16th. And then there was the LPGA Lotte Championship in her native Hawaii with the final round last Saturday.
At the start of the fourth and final round, Angela Stanford was four strokes in the lead having completed a sensational five-under-par 67 the day before. Tied for second was South Korean Hyo Joo Kim who shot a 69 and Wie with a 70. In fourth place was Cristie Kerr.
Stanford started the day strong with a birdie at the third hole, but then everything seemed to go wrong, starting with a bogey on the sixth. Meanwhile, Wie racked up a birdie on the sixth, and by the time everyone reached the ninth hole, Stanford, Wie and Kim were tied at 12 under par.
Wie went on to birdie the 12th and 13th, and that gave her a two-stroke lead that she held until the end of the round.
After the match, Stanford spoke to the press about her own performance and that of her playing companion Wie, “Today, just didn’t make the putts that I’ve been making. I wasn’t hitting it great today. Just mis-clubbed a couple of times. Just didn’t make good decisions. She’s [Wie] been playing great. She’s having a great year, so it was bound to happen. I just happened to be the one that caught the buzz saw.”
Wie was jubilant in her victory, telling journalists, “The highlight of this week was to come back home. There wasn’t one moment – from the first tee shot that I made to the last putt – the aloha that I felt from everyone was unbelievable.”