The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

June 23, 2014

Wie prevails at U.S. Open

PINEHURST, N.C. — The road Michelle Wie took to a U.S. Women's Open title was unlike any other, and suddenly insignificant. Whether this was a long time coming was the least of her cares.

The biggest star in women's golf had her name on the biggest trophy.

She never looked happier.

"Oh my God, I can't even think straight," Wie said Sunday after a two-shot victory over Stacy Lewis to claim her first major.

The final three holes at Pinehurst No. 2 were filled with ups and downs that Wie knows as well as anyone in golf. She responded with a performance worthy of the hype that had been heaped on her since she was a teenager.

With a three-shot lead on the 16th hole, Wie nearly threw it all away with one poor decision, only keeping the lead by making a nervy 5-foot putt for double bogey. And right when it looked as though this would end badly, the 24-year-old from Hawaii responded with the putt of her life that made her a Women's Open champion.

Facing a 25-foot birdie putt on 17 that was fast and dangerous, Wie pumped her fist when it fell, then pounded her fist twice to celebrate the moment.

"That kind of emotion, that kind of pressure ... I'll think of that putt as one of the best putts I've ever hit in my life," she said.

A par on the 18th gave her an even-par 70 to beat Lewis, the No. 1 player in women's golf who made Wie earn it. Lewis made eight birdies — the most in a final round by a male for female in the U.S. Open — and closed with a 66.

Lewis was on the range preparing for a playoff when her caddie told her Wie made birdie on the 17th. Moments later, Lewis was on the 18th green to hug Wie. Like most players, she was perplexed why Wie would spend so much time trying to compete against the men when she still didn't have an LPGA Tour card.

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