RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links


Wie Comes Up Short

February 13, 2009

Wie's double bogey on 11 was the opportunity Stanford needed to get the win.

KAHUKU, Hawaii (AP) -- Angela Stanford spoiled Michelle Wie's bid for a victory in her first start as an LPGA Tour member, overcoming a three-stroke deficit to win the season-opening SBS Open by three shots Saturday.

Stanford closed with a 2-under 70 for a 10-under 206 total at wind-swept Turtle Bay, giving the Texan her fourth career win and third in seven starts. Wie had a disappointing 73 for her second straight runner-up finish in the tournament.

The 19-year-old hometown favorite was cruising along, but made a double bogey on No. 11 that gave Stanford the opening she needed.

Down by a stroke with six holes to play, Stanford used her irons to shoot her way back to the top of the leaderboard. She birdied three straight holes to reach 10 under and take a two-stroke lead over Wie with three holes to play.

The late birdie flurry provided Stanford complete momentum, while Wie helplessly watched. Wie had a chance to cut into Stanford's lead on No. 16, but lipped out a 3-foot birdie putt. She then bogeyed No. 17.

The 31-year-old Stanford was the hottest player on tour to end the season and has emerged as one of the top golfers in the world. In the final six events of 2008, she won twice and finished no lower than a tie for sixth. She is ranked No. 8.

Stanford is off to a fast start after coming off a career-best season where she broke $1 million for the first time and finished ninth on the money list.

Wie appeared to be sailing away with the SBS title after the turn. She went up by three strokes with eight holes to play when Stanford ran into trouble around the green and bogeyed the par-4 10th.

However, Wie double bogeyed the par-4 11th, flubbing her tee shot into the right marsh and chipping short into the rough. She dropped her to 8 under and saw her lead reduced to a just a stroke, which Stanford just breezed by.

Stanford and Wie started the day tied for the lead at 8 under. The last time Wie led going into the final day was at the 2006 U.S. Women's Open where she was tied with Annika Sorenstam and Brittany Lincicome. Wie ended up tying for third.

The crowd that followed the final group was almost as entertaining as the golf. The gallery ranged from Wie's former classmates to real sumo wrestlers complete with topknots to stars from ABC drama "Lost," which is filmed on Oahu's North Shore.

Brazilian-born Angela Park struggled in the tradewinds and had a 75 to tie for third with South Korea's Na Yeon Choi (69) at 4-under 212, six strokes behind Stanford.

Taiwan's Yani Tseng (72), the 2008 rookie of the year, and Japan's Ai Miyazato (71) were 3 under, and Cristie Kerr (69), Sarah Lee (69) and Brittany Lang (73) followed at 2 under.