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Pinehurst, N.C. • Michelle Wie finally delivered a performance worthy of the hype that has been heaped on her since she was a teenager.
Wie bounced back from a late mistake at Pinehurst No. 2 to bury a 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole, sending the 24-year-old from Hawaii to her first major championship Sunday, a two-shot victory over Stacy Lewis in the U.S. Women's Open.
Wie closed with an even-par 70 and covered her mouth with her hand before thrusting both arms in the air.
Lewis, the No. 1 player in women's golf, made her work for it. She made eight birdies to match the best score of the tournament with a 66, and then was on the practice range preparing for a playoff when her caddie told her Wie had made the sharp-breaking birdie putt on the 17th.
Lewis returned to the 18th green to hug the winner after other players doused Wie with champagne.
What a journey for Wie, who now has four career victories all in North America, the first on the U.S. mainland and moved to the top of the LPGA money list after winning the biggest event in women's golf.
She has been one of the biggest stars in women's golf since she was 13 and played in the final group of a major. Her popularity soared along with criticism when she competed against the men on the PGA Tour while still in high school and talked about wanting to play in the Masters.
That seems like a lifetime ago. The 6-foot Wie is all grown up, a Stanford graduate, popular among pros of both genders and now a major champion.
"Oh my God, I can't believe this is happening," Wie said.
It almost didn't. Just like her so much of her life, the path included a sharp twist no one saw coming. Wie started the final round tied with Amy Yang, took the lead when Yang made double bogey on No. 2 and didn't let anyone catch her the rest of the day.
In trouble on the tough fourth hole, she got up-and-down from 135 yards with a shot into 3 feet. Right when Lewis was making a big run, Wie answered by ripping a drive on the shortened par-5 10th and hitting a cut 8-iron into 10 feet for eagle and a four-shot lead.
She had not made a bogey since the first hole and then it all nearly unraveled.
From a fairway bunker on the 16th, holding a three-shot lead, she stayed aggressive and hit hybrid from the sand. After a three-minute search, the ball was found in a wiregrass bush that caused her to take a penalty drop behind her in the fairway. She chipped on to about 35 feet and rapped her bogey putt 5 feet past the hole.
Miss it and she would be tied.
Bent over in that table-top putting stance, she poured it in to avoid her first three-putt of the week. Smiling as she left the green, even though her lead was down to one, Wie hit 8-iron safely on the 17th green and holed the tough birdie putt. She pumped her fist, then slammed it twice in succession, a determination rarely seen when she was contending for majors nearly a decade ago as a teen prodigy.
"Obviously, there are moments of doubt in there," Wie said. "But obviously, I had so many people surrounding me. They never lost faith in me. That's pushed me forward."
Wie finished at 2-under 278, the only player to beat par in the second week of championship golf at Pinehurst. Martin Kaymer won by eight shots last week at 9-under 271, the second-lowest score in U.S. Open history.
Lewis got within one shot of the lead with a birdie on No. 13, and after two bogeys, kept her hopes alive by finishing with back-to-back birdies.
"I knew I needed to get out early and post some numbers and make Michelle Wie earn it," Lewis said.
Stephanie Meadow of Northern Ireland made her pro debut by closing with a 69 to finish alone in third, earning $271,373. That should be enough to secure her LPGA Tour card for next season. Yang never recovered from her bad start and closed with a 74 to finish fourth.
LPGA Women's Open
At Pinehurst No. 2
Purse • $4 million
Yardage • 6,649; Par • 70
Michelle Wie 68-68-72-70278 -2
Stacy Lewis 67-73-74-66280 E
Stephanie Mdw 71-72-69-69281 +1
Amy Yang 71-69-68-74282 +2
Meena Lee 72-73-70-68283 +3
So Yeon Ryu 69-74-70-70283 +3
Lexi Thompson 71-68-74-71284 +4
Sakura Yokomine 74-68-71-71284 +4
Pornanong Phtlm 71-73-69-71284 +4
Catriona Matthw 75-69-75-66285 +5
Jenny Shin 74-70-73-68285 +5
a-Brke M. Hndrsn 71-73-72-69285 +5
Yueer Cindy Feng 73-71-71-71286 +6
Na Yeon Choi 71-70-71-74286 +6
Lydia Ko 76-71-71-69287 +7
Shanshan Feng 77-70-70-70287 +7
Brittany Lincicme 77-70-69-71287 +7
Hee Young Park 73-73-69-72287 +7
Paula Creamer 70-72-72-73287 +7
Chella Choi 75-70-69-73287 +7
Juli Inkster 71-75-66-75287 +7
Julieta Granada 75-71-74-68288 +8
Sandra Gal 74-72-73-69288 +8
Karine Icher 76-72-71-69288 +8
Azahara Munoz 73-71-74-70288 +8
Brittany Lang 73-75-69-71288 +8
a-Minjee Lee 69-71-72-76288 +8
Eun Hee Ji 71-75-75-68289 +9
Caroline Masson 72-75-73-69289 +9
Candie Kung 71-76-75-68290 +10
Angela Stanford 71-72-77-70290 +10
I.K. Kim 71-74-75-70290 +10
Mariajo Uribe 72-70-76-72290 +10
Karrie Webb 70-73-70-77290 +10
Yani Tseng 77-71-74-69291 +11
Rikako Morita 73-75-73-70291 +11
Ha Na Jang 76-73-70-72291 +11
Jennifer Song 74-72-77-69292 +12
Caroline Hedwall 73-76-72-71292 +12
Mina Harigae 71-74-74-73292 +12
Se Ri Pak 76-69-74-73292 +12
Jee Young Lee 73-73-73-73292 +12
Lee-Anne Pace 76-73-73-71293 +13
Hee Kyung Bae 77-71-73-72293 +13
Inbee Park 76-71-73-73293 +13
Nikki Campbell 74-75-76-69294 +14
Beatriz Recari 73-74-72-75294 +14
Sei Young Kim 72-75-72-75294 +14
Giulia Sergas 77-72-74-72295 +15
PGA Travelers Championship
At TPC River Highlands
Purse • $6.2 million
Yardage • 6,841; Par • 70
Kevin Streelman 69-68-64-64265 -15
K.J. Choi 65-65-69-67266 -14
Sergio Garcia 65-69-65-67266 -14
Aaron Baddeley 67-66-65-69267 -13
Ryan Moore 63-68-66-71268 -12
Brendan Steele 62-69-71-66268 -12
Chad Campbell 64-70-67-68269 -11
Harris English 66-64-72-67269 -11
Jeff Maggert 64-70-68-67269 -11
Carl Pettersson 68-67-66-68269 -11
Angel Cabrera 68-70-65-67270 -10
Bud Cauley 63-70-68-69270 -10
Marc Leishman 70-68-65-67270 -10
Brandt Snedeker 65-69-72-64270 -10
Scott Langley 64-65-70-71270 -10
Michael Putnam 67-63-69-71270 -10
Nick Watney 70-66-65-69270 -10
Stuart Appleby 69-70-68-64271 -9
Miguel A.Carbllo 68-68-72-63271 -9
Champions Encompass Championship At North Shore Country Club
Purse • $1.8 million
Yardage • 7,103; Par • 72
Tom Lehman 65-66-70201
Michael Allen 67-68-67202
Kirk Triplett 67-67-68202
Doug Garwood 66-71-66203
Bart Bryant 67-68-69204
Roger Chapman 66-68-72206
Russ Cochran 71-71-64206
Colin Mntgmerie 69-67-70206
Kenny Perry 71-67-68206
Jeff Sluman 67-70-69206
Esteban Toledo 69-70-67206
Fred Funk 69-69-69207
Tom Pernice Jr. 69-68-70207
Olin Browne 71-68-69208
Jose Coceres 68-69-71208