US LPGA: Wie out, Sorenstam back

Annika Sorenstam's return to the US LPGA Tour was better than she hoped. Michelle Wie's literally went down the drain at the Ginn Tribute on Thursday.

updated: June 03, 2007 14:10 IST
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Mount Pleasant:

Annika Sorenstam's return to the US LPGA Tour was better than she hoped. Michelle Wie's literally went down the drain at the Ginn Tribute on Thursday.

Sorenstam was satisfied with her even-par 72 after nearly two months off the tour because of a ruptured disk and a bulging disk. Wie withdrew after shooting 14 over for 16 holes - including a 10 on the par-5 third when her drive hit a parked car and fell down a storm drain - and saying she had reaggravated a season-long wrist injury.

Rookie Angela Park was the leader at 6-under 66, two shots ahead of a group that included top-ranked Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer and Pat Hurst.

The most attention, though, went to tournament host Sorenstam and Wie, the 17-year-old American prodigy.

Sorenstam empathizes

Sorenstam empathized with Wie.

"I know what it's like to have an injury," the 36-year-old Sorenstam said. "I guess mine healed better than hers."

It certainly looked that way.

Sorenstam wasn't chuckling early at RiverTowne Country Club. She made bogeys on two of her first five holes. But like so many other times in her 13-year career, Sorenstam found her game down the stretch. She birdied three of her last four holes to walk off the course happy and content.

"I like to say the more I play, the more comfortable I'm going to get," Sorenstam said.

If she gets any more comfortable, the rest of the field could be in trouble. Not so fast, Sorenstam says.

"It's a long way back and I have to be patient," she said.

Wie might also need to find patience after leaving the tournament so quickly.

Wie "tweaked" her wrist injury during the round. That was why, she said, she halted the round and not because of a US LPGA Tour rule banning non-tour members for the season if they shoot 88 or higher.

Two bogeys on her final two holes would've put Wie on the number - and perhaps out of some of her sponsor-exempted US LPGA Tour events later this year.

Wie had both wrists bandaged during the round and briefly had her left wrist iced as she sat in the clubhouse.

It wasn't what Wie wanted after waiting nearly five months to tee off again.

"I think that when an injury is in the back of your mind, you're thinking, 'Oh, this is going to hurt,'" Wie said. "The last thing you're thinking about is trying to hit the ball straight."

Wie had trouble doing that all round.

She was 7 over after five holes. After settling in with a birdie on the 18th as she made the turn - Wie lifted her arms in triumph when her approach stopped a foot away - Wie crashed for good on the par-5 third hole with that quintuple bogey.

The first of her three tee shots bounced off a car and rolled into a road drain. "It was actually quite funny," Wie said.

Wie's provisional shot also was out of play in a pond. A third drive found the rough and led to the massive score.

"I feel sorry for her," Ochoa said. "But hopefully, she's OK."

Wie said she plans to play in next week's major, the McDonald's LPGA Championship. "I'm going to reanalyze it and kind of try to be smart about (recovering)," Wie said. "But I definitely want to play."

Leader Park's eyes grew wide with surprise when told Wie had left.

"Just having her around is actually a great honor because I looked up to her even though I was a year older," Park said. "I was like, 'Wow, she's really good for our age.'"

Teenager MacKinzie Kline, born with a congenital heart defect, finished with a 14-over 86. The 15-year-old Kline was given a sponsor's exemption into the tournament by Sorenstam. The US LPGA has allowed Kline to use a cart and oxygen during her rounds because she tires more easily.