Sports

Stanford grad Wie realizes her talent with U.S. Open title

When Michelle Wie graduated from Stanford in 2012, it was appropriate perhaps that her major was in communications.

On Sunday, Wie let the golf world that all the hype that was heaped upon her as a teenager finally has been realized after the 24-year-old captured the 2014 U.S. Women's Open golf championship.

Wie shot rounds of 68-68-72-70 for a 2-under 278, becoming the only player to beat par at the No. 2 course at Pinehurst. She earned $720,000. Last week at the men's Open Championship, Martin Kaymer was the only player to break par while shooting 271 and earning $1,620,000.

''Oh my God, I can't believe this is happening,'' said Wie, who received a shower of champagne from her fellow competitors after sinking her par putt on the 18th.

"I don't think this will ever get old," Wie said. "This is a dream come true for me right now."

Wie bounced back from a late mistake, a double-bogey six at the 16th, and buried a 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to win her first major championship with a two-shot victory over Stacy Lewis. Wie had no three putts during the week.

"I'm proud that Michelle didn't limp in and barely win it," Lewis said of Wie's birdie at the 17th. She really went out and won it. I think this is great for women's golf. I'm very happy for Michelle."

Lewis, the No. 1 player in women's golf, made Wie work for her first USGA title since 2003. She made eight birdies to match the best score of the tournament with a 66. She helped give Wie her champagne shower.

Wie now has four career victories -- all in North America -- and moved atop the LPGA money list after winning the biggest event in women's golf.

Wie was the youngest player, at age 10, to qualify for a USGA amateur event and was 13 when she played in the final group of a major. Wie competed against the men on the PGA Tour while still in high school and had the temerity to even talk about playing in the Masters some day.

A lot has changed for the 6-foot Wie since then as she has taken a more conventional path to her current popularity.

"I just had so many people surrounding me . . . who never lost faith in me," said said. "It's just amazing."

Wie's previous best Open finish was a tie for third in 2006, but she had not cracked the top 10 in nine previous starts. Twice she withdrew (2007 and 2013), and twice she missed the cut (2008 and 2010).

On Sunday, however, her past was just that and her future all the more bright.

"I'm so happy right now," she said following her round. "I'm just unbelievably happy. I'm so honored to be part -- to have my name on the trophy. Just so grateful for everything. I'm just really happy. I'm really thankful, just everything, feeling every single emotion I can right now."

Men's golf

Former Stanford All-American Patrick Rodgers made his professional debut this past weekend at the Travelers Championships at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.

Rodgers made the cut and shot rounds of 66-69-71-70 for a 276 total. That left him tied for 46th at 4-under par. Rodgers earned $17,186 while winner Kevin Streelman took home $1,116,000 for his 15-under effort.

Former Stanford teammate Cameron Wilson also had his pro debut in the same tourney, but missed the cut after shooting 73-75-148. He needed a 139 or better to reach the weekend.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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