Wie struggles at John Deere Classic

With many of golf's top names in Europe preparing for the British Open, Michelle Wie took centre stage at the John Deere Classic in Silvis.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:35 IST
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With many of golf's top names in Europe preparing for the British Open, Michelle Wie took centre stage at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois on Thursday. The 16-year-old sensation struggled in her fifth attempt to make the cut on the PGA Tour, carding a six-over-par 77 as her long game let her down. JP Hayes, John Senden, Daniel Chopra and local favourite Zach Johnson were tied for the lead after shooting opening 64s. The Tournament Players Club course in Silvis, Illinois played host on Thursday to the opening round of the John Deere Classic. With many of the PGA Tour's biggest names in Europe tuning up for next week's British Open, Michelle Wie received most of the attention on day one. Hawaii sensation The 16-year-old from Hawaii sensation is once again trying to make history, by becoming the first woman to make the cut at a PGA Tour event since Babe Zahariah 61 years ago. Things didn't start well for Wie, who, starting at the 10th hole, had to take three drops in her first five holes including one here at the 12th. She hit seven of 14 fairways and made only six of 18 greens, including just one in her first nine holes. But her short game bailed her out throughout the day with this fine chip ensuring a par on the ninth, her last hole of the day. Wie carded a six-over-par 77, which leaves her an uphill struggle to qualify for the weekend. Local favourite Zach Johnson strengthened his Ryder Cup claims with an excellent first round, this approach to the eighth from the sand yielding one of his eight birdies on the day and a share of the lead on seven-under-par. Hayes plays well JP Hayes, champion here four years ago, was also having a good day, sinking this long putt on 15 to save par and preserve his blemish-free round. He also carded a 64 with Australia's John Senden and Daniel Chopra of Sweden matching him to make it a four-way tie for the lead. Japan's Daisuke Maruyama started at the 10th and had four birdies in five holes on his outward nine. He made his final birdie of the day here at the eighth to card a 66. Former British Open champion and world number one David Duval continued his recent resurgence with a three-under-par 68 to keep within striking distance of the leaders. Defending John Deere Classic champion and the last year's PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Sean O'Hair had five birdies, two-putting to make one here on 17. But a double-bogey six at the 11th meant he finished with a 69, five strokes off the pace. (AP)