Fri, Dec 10, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Teenage girl to challenge men again in Sony Open


Michelle Wie hits a tee shot on the sixth hole during the final round of the LPGA Samsung World Championship in this Oct. 17 file photo. The 15-year-old Hawaiian 10th-grader is confident of a top-20 finish in the Sony Open after spending more time on fitness training, nutrition and boosting upper body strength.


Michelle Wie, the 15-year-old golf sensation who barely missed making the cut in January's PGA Sony Open, will challenge the men again here next month and this time is aiming for a top-20 finish.

Tournament officials announced on Wednesday that the Hawaiian 10th-grade student would be granted a sponsor's exemption to play in the event, set for Jan. 13 to Jan. 16 at Waialae Country Club.

"My goal is to be in the top 20," Wie told the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper. "I'm definitely looking forward to it. I will try to practise there as much as I can."

The long-driving women's golf prodigy fired rounds of 72 and 68 to finish in a share of 80th at level par 140 last year, finishing ahead of 48 men in the first full-field PGA Tour event of the 2004 season.

Wie, whose 68 was the best round by a woman competing in an otherwise all-male pro golf field, has spent more time on fitness training and proper nutrition this year and uses an exercise ball to increase upper body strength.

"I'm a lot stronger than last year," she said.

Wie won last year's US Women's Amateur Public Links crown and showed peak form in major events against the LPGA Tour's top players, placing fourth in the Nabisco Championship and sharing 13th at the US Women's Open.

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