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
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
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.
Kevin Streelman birdied the last seven holes to win the Travelers Championship by a stroke Sunday at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.
Streelman shot his second straight 6-under 64 to finish at 15-under 265. He broke the tour record for consecutive closing birdies by a winner of six set by Mike Souchak in the 1956 St. Paul Open.
The 35-year-old Streelman also won the Tampa Bay Championship last season. He missed the cuts in his previous four starts on tour.
Tom Lehman victorious at Encompass Championship
Tom Lehman made a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win the Champions Tour's Encompass Championship in Glenview, Ill.
The 55-year-old Lehman closed with a 2-under 70 at North Shore and had a 15-under 201 total for his eighth senior title and first since 2012. He rebounded from bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14 — his only dropped strokes of the week — with birdies on Nos. 15 and 16, parred the par-3 17th and won on the par-4 18th.
Michael Allen and Kirk Triplett tied for second, a stroke back. Allen shot 67, and Triplett had a 68.
Lehman, the 1996
Mikko Ilonen posts fourth career win at Irish Open
Mikko Ilonen shot a final round 70 to win the Irish Open by 1 stroke after leading from start to finish.
The 34-year old Finn celebrated his 300th European event and his fourth tour victory with an overall 13-under 271 on the Fota Island course in Cork, Ireland.