Apr
20
2014
Wie for the W!
By Stephanie Wei under LPGA
Wie's world

Wie’s world

Michelle Wie overcame a four-shot deficit heading into the final round and fired a five-under 67 to win the LPGA Lotte Championship. She broke her victory drought of nearly four years — and the former teen phenom did it on her home island of Oahu, no less. 

Wie, who grew up with immeasurable expectations and under extreme criticism, could be, at the ripe age of 24, an embittered soul (and not many people would probably blame her if she were). She could be someone who has built a thick, steel wall around her — someone whose social media account(s) read like PR copy . But, rather impressively, she’s a radiant, happy and loving individual. Which she exemplified following her win this weekend.

Perhaps more important than the technical side of things, she’s mentally in a good place.

“I definitely cried a little bit last night because I was so happy,” Wie said Sunday in a conference call. “It was a dream come true for me to win my first tournament on U.S. soil in my hometown…

“I’ve been through a lot of things. A lot of ups and downs, a lot of life experiences. And after experiencing all of that, I am a lot more grateful for my good play.

“I’m enjoying being out there. I’m definitely treating it a lot more like a game. It’s not life or death out there.”

Wie placed runner-up to Lexi Thompson two weeks ago at the LPGA first major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she received a valuable pep talk.

“I was out there, I was nervous, but I had a really good talk with (indiscernible) and Beth before I went out my last round at Kraft,” she recalled during her post-win presser. “I told them, ‘I’m so nervous,’ and they are like, ‘That’s awesome.’

“Every time you feel nervous, just enjoy it.  I think I really felt that today.  Every time I felt nervous out there, I was looking around and I was like there was really no other place I would rather be.  So I just had a blast out there today.”

Wie was also incredibly humble and gracious to her hometown fans who came out to support her.

“I think the highlight really was just to come back home and‑‑ there really wasn’t just one moment,” said Wie after capturing her third-career professional win. “From the first tee shot that I hit until the last putt that I made, the support that I felt from everyone was unbelievable.  I really think a lot of times they willed the ball in.  I give a lot of credit to them this week.”

To anyone paying any type of attention to the LPGA this year, it’s no surprise Wie came out on top this past Saturday. She was due. And the stats say she’s the best player on the LPGA in 2014.

Prior to the LPGA Lotte Championship, Wie had notched three top-10s, including second at the Kraft. She’s seven-for-seven in cuts made and her worst finish was T16 at the Kia Classic. Not too shabby.

It gets even better.

Wie is currently first on the money list with $616,555 in earnings for 2014. She ranks first on the LPGA in three categories: Greens in Regulation, Scoring Average and Rounds Under Par — a decent recipe when it comes to performing well. She’s also 7th in birdies and 17th in putts per GIR.

When Michelle wins, everybody wins. The LPGA wins. The fans win. We win. Let’s hope this kicks off a run of many more to come this season, including, perhaps, the U.S. Women’s Open.

(AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)