Michelle Wie keeps putting herself back together again.
Broken down by injury or illness or slump so many times in her career, she keeps finding ways to overcome.
She did it again Sunday in brilliant fashion, coming from five shots behind in the final round to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore with a dramatic putt at the final hole, a 36-foot birdie from just off the front of the green.
Wie thrust her fist into the sky when that last putt fell, and then she punched the air twice more in giddy delight.
“I think that has to be the best putt of my career so far,” she said.
Four long, frustrating years after winning the U.S. Women’s Open, Wie was finally able to claim her fifth LPGA title.
“It’s been a tough journey since 2014,” she said. “It’s been kind of well documented. I’ve had some injuries, had a really bad year, just lost a lot of confidence. I’m just really proud of myself for pulling myself out of it.”
Wie’s parents, B.J. and Bo, were in the gallery following, as they always are. Her parents have been scrutinized and criticized as much as any in the sport over their handling of the former phenom. Wie, 28, said they were on her mind when that last putt dropped.
— LPGA (@LPGA) March 4, 2018
“When I made the putt, I could just picture my parents kind of celebrating,” Wie said. “My family believed in me relentlessly, and with that, I started to believe in myself.”
Wie beat a star-studded lineup Sunday that included 19 of the top 20 players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.
“This is Asia’s major,” Wie said.
With a bogey-free 7-under-par 65, Wie prevailed in a crazy afternoon of high drama, breaking out of a four-way tie for the lead with that birdie at the last. She finished at 17 under overall, a shot ahead of Brooke Henderson (67), Danielle Kang (70), Nelly Korda (71) and Jenny Shin (65).
“Everyone was really clustered up there on the leaderboard,” Wie said. “I’m just really proud of myself for making a lot of birdies, and [to] keep going.”
So many players got in the mix on the back nine, with one player after another mounting charges. The course record was 64, but five players equaled or broke the mark in the final round.
After her closing birdie, Wie had to wait in the wings and watch Korda and Kang miss birdie chances at the last that could have forced a playoff.
The victory was sweet for Wie for a lot of reasons, including her inability to close out a 54-hole lead in this event a year ago.
“I just wanted to get revenge after last year a little bit,” Wie said. “I kind of came with a slight chip on my shoulder in the morning.”
Wie overcame so much winning that U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst in 2014, when she finally looked ready to realize all her potential in a run to No. 1. But, she was derailed by a finger injury later that summer, and then by hip, knee and ankle injuries that led to an awful slump after that. When she finally looked as if she was turning a corner again last year, neck spasms and an emergency appendectomy derailed her in the summer.
“Definitely, my team and my family and my friends have pulled me out of the hard times and kept me going,” Wie said. “There have been moments where it was hard. It was hard to keep going and to keep playing.”
Wie’s longtime swing coach, David Leadbetter, has been there through all the challenges with her since she was 13.
“I can’t list all the injuries Michelle has had in her career,” Leadbetter said at year’s start. “I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue.
“The main goal this year is really to see if she can go injury free.”
Leadbetter believes Wie hasn’t reached what she’s really capable of yet, but he’s hopeful this might be the year. There was promise loaded in Sunday’s victory.
1. Dean Heckel.
Dean Heckel will be performing at Valley View Golf Course on
March 17, 2018 from 8pm to 11pm.
There will be NO COVER CHARGE!
2. Great Food & Drink Specials.
Stay tuned for more details!
3. Great Golf.
This year, St. Patrick’s Day is on a Saturday! Get your clubs ready and try your luck! Will the luck of the Irish help you?
Try your luck on St. Patrick’s Day by booking a tee time!
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) – Justin Thomas was down to his last chance when he delivered his most clutch shot of the final round in the Honda Classic.
Turns out he wasn’t finished.
Thomas nearly holed a gap wedge on the par-5 18th hole for a birdie to force a playoff with Luke List. Moments later, he hit 5-wood over the water, urged it to keep going and lost it momentarily in the darkening sky over PGA National.
“All I was looking at was the water to see if it splashed,” Thomas said. “And it didn’t. So I figured I was in the bunker, and then people started clapping and I could kind of see some little white dot on the green.”
That set up a two-putt birdie that made him a winner when List, who hit his own bold shot in regulation to the 18th to set up birdie, could only manage par in the playoff.
Thomas closed with a 2-under 68 and won for the second time this season. He also won in a playoff at the CJ Cup in South Korea last fall. With eight career victories, including seven in his last 31 starts on the PGA Tour, he moved to No. 3 in the world. He is one spot ahead of longtime friend Jordan Spieth for the first time, which was of little significance to Thomas.
“Not really,” he said. “Because there’s still two more spots that I want to climb.’
List, going for his first PGA Tour victory, shot 32 on the back nine and closed with a 69. His only regret was a tee shot wide right in the playoff that landed amid palm trees and left him little options. He went left against the bleachers, and hit a superb approach to about 25 feet and two-putted for par.
Yell for Justin Thomas' ball to go in the bunker? You'll be leaving the course early. At least that was the case on Sunday when one fan decided to test the champ: https://t.co/0mcXahSYNZ pic.twitter.com/tc9jkC6m3o
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) February 26, 2018
“Obviously, it hurts right now,” List said. “But I think that when I look back on it, I’ll be proud of the way I hung in there.”
Alex Noren (67) finished third. He was tied for the lead when he went for the green on the 18th, only for the ball to hit hung up on the side of the collar of a bunker, leaving him a tough chip. He missed a birdie chance from 20 feet.
Tiger Woods was briefly within three shots of the lead on the front nine. He closed with a 70 and finished 12th.
The 5-wood turned out to be the winner for Thomas. The wedge made it possible.
Jack Nicklaus was in the broadcast booth for most of the final round, leaving before Thomas and List reached the 18th hole. It might have all looked familiar to Nicklaus, the U.S. captain of the 1983 Ryder Cup at PGA National. The big moment that year was Lanny Wadkins nearly jarring a wedge on the 18th hole, a shot so meaningful to the outcome that Nicklaus kissed the divot.
“I have a lot of confidence in my wedge game,” Thomas said. “I knew if I got a decent number that I was going to be able to get inside 10 feet. That’s all I wanted was a chance to try to get into a playoff. And then ended up hitting a great wedge.”
Thomas and List finished at 8-under 272. It was the seventh playoff in 15 PGA Tour events this season.
Woods made that Sunday red shirt look a little brighter, at least for a while. With an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-4 eighth hole, he momentarily pulled within three shots of the lead. That only lasted the few minutes that it took Thomas to tap in for birdie on the par-5 third.
Woods made bogey to close out his front nine, and he still was four shots behind until getting swallowed up again by the water-filled closing stretch. He put his tee shot into water and made double bogey for the second straight day, three-putted the 16th for bogey and was out of hope.
“I made a big leap this week because I really hit it well,” Woods said. “I was able to control it, especially in this wind, which is not easy to do.”
Woods led the field in proximity to the hole on his approach shots at just over 29 feet.
Not to be overlooked was Sam Burns of LSU, who last year won the Jack Nicklaus Award as the top college player who received a sponsor exemption. Playing alongside Woods in such a chaotic arena, he was bogey-free for a 68 to tie for eighth. That will get him into the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook in two weeks.
Five players had at least a share of the lead. Only three of them stuck around until the end.
Webb Simpson missed the fairway on the 11th hole and had to lay up instead of taking on the water. That led to the first of three bogeys in a four-hole stretch and sent him to a 72, four shots behind. Tommy Fleetwood was tied for the lead until a three-putt bogey from long range on the 14th, and a bogey from the back bunker on the 15th. A birdie on the final hole for a 69 left him two shots behind.