Stanford students Michelle Wie and David Chung will have some interesting golf stories to tell when they return to campus in a few short weeks. The highlight of their summers came this past weekend as Wie won the LPGA's CN Canadian Women's Open while Chung lost in the finals of the U.S. Amateur.
Wie, who said she'll be heading back to Stanford following the next LPGA stop (the P&G NW Arkansas Championship) that begins Sept. 10, shot a final-round 70 to win her second career pro tournament.
The 20-year-old Wie finished the week at St. Charles Country Club in Winnipeg with a 12-under-par 276 and held held off a star-studded cast including defending champion Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 4 Jiyai Shin, Kristy McPherson and Jee Young Lee.
The victory is Wie's first of the 2010 LPGA season and it earned her $337,500. Wie's previous-best finish in 2010 was a third at the Tres Marias Championship.
"It feels awesome," Wie said of the triumph. "It feels absolutely fantastic. It's been a long time since November, and it feels great. ou know, I just feel like I haven't been playing as well as I wanted to the last couple of months, and just really makes me more motivated for the rest of the season."
Wie entered Sunday's final-round tied with Jiyai Shin at 10-under par. After recording a bogey at the par-4 fourth, Wie took control of the tournament with consistent play and a confident demeanor that was aided by three consecutive birdies on the back-nine. A birdie putt at 13 and a chip-in from a tough lie for birdie on 15 pushed Wie to the three-stroke win. Her 2-under par round featured three bogeys and five birdies plus her second chip-in of the tournament at the par-3 15th.
"I made a lot of crucial putts today," said Wie. "It was fun out there today and the rest of the week playing with Cristie (Kerr) and Jiyai that past two days and she had an awesome round. Definitely the hole-in-one helped a lot, I think, and it was a fun week overall."
In addition to the nice paycheck, Wie earned 30 Rolex Player of the Year points and 40 U.S. Solheim Cup Team points. She is projected to jump to seventh in the Rolex Rankings.
Wie also received a champagne shower from friend and fellow competitor Christina Kim on the 18th hole after wrapping up the tournament.
"All I was thinking in my mind was I'm wearing white pants," Wie said.
Chung was wearing white pants, too, but he didn't get a champagne shower or a victory. Nonetheless, Chung displayed a gritty talent while dropping a 4-and-2 decision to Peter Uihlein in the 36-hole finale of the 110th U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Wash.
The runnerup finish equaled Chung's best finish ever in a USGA event. He also finished second at the 2005 U.S. Junior Amateur.
After being the reigning NCAA champ in the quarterfinals and the defending U.S. Amateur champion in the semifinals, Chung faced the world's No. 1-ranked golfer in the finals. Also going for Uihlein was the fact he was celebrating his 21st birthday.
The 20-year-old Chung, of Fayetteville, N.C., arrived at Chambers Bay arguably the hottest amateur golfer in the world. The Stanford junior had won his previous two starts at the Porter Cup and Western Amateur. Before that he had gone 4-0 in match play to help the USA win the Palmer Cup at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland
Despite the hot streak, Chung wasn't as confident as most would think.
"I've never really played well when I'm hot," Chung said. "When I try to be super intense … I try to take as much pressure off myself as possible. You know, I enjoy playing rounds with buddies at home or going out to play in, like, three hours. I don't think very much and just have fun, and that's how I try to keep it on the golf course.
"I have a lot of good things going on in my life. Golf is super fun and super competitive, and it's important to play well, but there are a lot of other things to fall back on in case things go bad on the course."
"David's an unbelievable match play player. He's got such a good game; he's not weak in any aspect," said Uihlein, a junior at Oklahoma State University who will see Chung again soon, in late October in Argentina, as a teammate with NCAA champion Scott Langley on the USA squad at the World Amateur Team Championship. "He hits it pretty far for his size, too. He's quite the player, and he's got a bright future."
Chung, who will return to Stanford on Sept. 9, will pare down his golf activities for a few days before getting back to work. He earned a berth in next season's U.S. Open and likely secured an invitation to the Masters, as well.
"I'm going to take a few weeks off and rest, and maybe (play) just a little golf, but mostly I want to assess where I can get better," Chung said. "Basically, I think I can be a lot more consistent. There are parts that I can work on and make more solid. I'll find them and address them and get better."
Chung expected a battle heading into the finale, and got one.
"You know, I came basically this morning expecting Peter to play really good golf and he did," Chung said. "I just didn't really come with everything back at him today. I was a little flat out there, and I couldn't really spark any momentum, so I think that was the difference. But, kudos to Peter. He played fantastic today."
Chung was only two down with seven holes to play, but just couldn't cut into the deficit.
"I said, Hey, if I make a couple putts here I could get something started," Chung recalled. "I could pull it back. Two down with seven holes to go is nothing. But I just couldn't, I couldn't drop the putts when I needed to today."