Sunday, April 20, 2014

LPGA LOTTE Championship Saturday: Michelle Wie Wins at Home!

You don't need me to tell you that Michelle Wie has won the LPGA LOTTE Championship by 2 shots over Angela Stanford, 3 over Inbee Park, and 4 over Hyo Joo Kim.  By now everyone who pays a lick of attention to women's golf knows that Wie chased Stanford down with 3 birdies in her 1st 6 holes, then outdistanced the 2nd- and 3rd-round leader and everyone else in the field with 3 birdies in her 1st 7 holes on the back.  I mean, you expect Brent KelleyTony Jesselli, bangkokbobby, and Ruthless Mike to be all over this, and you expect Geoff Shackelford to have something snarky to say, but it's only good for the LPGA when American stars like Paula Creamer, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and now Michelle Wie have won in 2014.  ESPN gave Wie's win more than their usual paragraph and followed their game story up with an ESPNW feature on Wie's journey back to the winner's circle.  And it won't be the last in-depth look at the former phenom.

Right now Team USA is looking like the team to beat for the International Crown (although Team Korea must be pretty happy with Park and So Yeon Ryu, who tied Chella Choi for 5th at -9).  If they had captain's picks in this event, Wie would certainly be the frontrunner for it.  Yes, she hasn't won on tour since 2010, and she still hasn't won in one of the contiguous 48 states, but she's got them surrounded, with wins in Mexico, Canada, and now Hawaii.  And let's be clear:  Wie didn't need this win to build her confidence in her game or her strategy.  Everyone on tour and who follows it knows that she's been playing solid solid golf in 2014 and that the pieces were falling in place.  I didn't think this would be her week to win, but I expected she'd contend.

So congratulations to Michelle!  The way she's playing and the way she's enjoying the game lead me to believe we'll see her near or at the top of the leaderboards a lot the rest of the spring!

[Update 1 (10:36 am):  More Wie-linkage from Golf BabesGolf Spelled Backwards, Ladies on Tour, and Women's Golf Center!]

[Update 2 (10:40 am):  Here's Randall Mell with an implicitly Easter-themed reflection on Wie's journey!]

[Update 3 (4/21/14, 9:12 am):  Here are Centurion's observations on Wie's win.]


Colin N.Z said...

A little off topic but it was nice to see Inbee Park and others including Michelle Wie wearing a black ribbon on their hats in paying tribute to those who have lost their lives in the ferry disaster in South Korea. I was disappointed the GC seemed totally unaware and made no comment when it was obvious by this that many players especially the South Koreans would have had the tragedy very much on their minds.

The Constructivist said...

Most definitely, Colin. Since the whole point of the Saturday finish is to allow for prime-time coverage in Asia, it would have been smart for GC to signal their awareness. Most likely the Korean-language announcers did, but Americans should get a chance to understand and sympathize, as well.

Colin N.Z said...

I think Bruce this also shows the great respect that the LPGA players have for each other on and off the course when we see things like this occur. Watching Arirang TV news live via satellite they made special mention with photos of the black ribbons as the whole country is in mourning at the moment. So many young lives lost. Can you believe there was no cheering at the big baseball matches played last night out of respect. Amazing to see a huge crowd just watching with no emotion while many other events were just cancelled. I am sure the LPGA is aware of the cultural differences of their members and how certain players will react to situations like this. I would like to think it was them who organised the ribbons.