Michelle Wie gets 1st LPGA Tour win

November 15, 2009 5:06:28 PM PST
Michelle Wie won her first LPGA Tour title, fulfilling the promise of a decade with a 3-under 69 Sunday for a two-stroke victory over Paula Creamer in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

Wie finished off the victory in style, hitting a greenside bunker shot to 6 inches on the 18th hole and then tapping in for a birdie.

"It's definitely off by my back," she said. "I think that hopefully life will be a lot better, but I still have a lot of work to do."

The 20-year-old Wie raised both arms in the air - her putter in her right hand - and then put her hand over her mouth. After pulling the ball out of the hole, she turned to the gallery, looked to the sky and let out a big sigh of relief.

Wie hopped several times and kept pumping her right fist over and over. After all the expectations, her long wait was over.

"Wowww-w-w ...... never thought this would feel THIS great!!!!" she posted on her Twitter account.

Solheim Cup teammates Morgan Pressel and Creamer showered Wie on the 18th green after the winning put.

"Just seeing them come out and pour beer all over me, it was a great feeling," Wie said. "I've always seen it on TV and I've always wanted people to pour beer on me. It was as great as I thought it was."

Her parents, dad B.J. and mom Bo, were there, too, for an embrace.

"I think it's just so awesome, seeing them on the 18th green and hugging them,"it a chance, and Michelle played great," said Creamer, who has battled stomach problems for a year and fought off back and thumb injuries. She is winless this year after eight career victories.

"I feel a lot better with my golf," she said. "It's just unfortunate that you're so close, yet you're so far away."

The co-leader with Wie after three rounds, Kerr was level par on the front nine and reached 12 under with birdies on 10 and 11. After 12 holes, Wie, Creamer and Kerr were tied, but Kerr faded with bogeys on 15 and 16.

Shin, the rookie of the year, also slipped. Tournament host Ochoa shot 69 to finish six pack and Ai Miyazato, No. 2 on this year's money list, finished 10 back after a 72.

Ochoa and Shin will battle next week for the player of the year award at the LPGA Tour Championship in Houston, the last event of the season. Ochoa has won the last three, but Shin leads the points race.

Shin is trying to become the first woman to win both titles since Nancy Lopez in 1978.

The LPGA, battered by economic problems and the forced resignation of its commissioner this summer, needs this as much as Wie.

"Literally, when Michelle Wie is atop the leaderboard it's like night and day and that's star power," LPGA spokesman David Higdon said the day before Wie's win. "That's all it is. This is somebody people want to follow. You see it in her presence, the way she walks around. The way people talk to her."

Wie played PGA Tour events when she was 14 - the biggest stage there is. She was criticized at the time for not focusing on women's events. She turned pro in 2005 before even finishing high school.

She ignored the criticism and, at 16, she was poised to become the first woman to qualify for the men's U.S. Open before her putter failed her.

Shortly after that she began to lose confidence and the biggest attraction in women's golf went into a long, painful slump that was made worst by a wrist injury that ruined her 2007 season.

She has slowly worked her way back, earning her LPGA card for this season, gaining credibility with players and emerging as a star on this year's Solheim Cup, going undefeated in four matches.

When she is on her game, it flies with soaring drives and better and better touch on the greens. Wie has finished second twice this season, and has two other third-place finishes on the LPGA Tour.

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