After nearly a four-year winless streak, Michelle Wie wrote her own fairytale finish to a magical week in her home state of Hawaii by clinching the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf. The Honolulu native said she could not have dreamed up a better ending to the tournament she calls her hometown event.
“I think the highlight really was just to come back home and ‑‑ there really wasn't just one moment,” said Wie. “From the first tee shot that I hit until the last putt that I made, the support that I felt from everyone was unbelievable. I really think a lot of times they willed the ball in. I give a lot of credit to them this week.”
Wie shot a 5-under 67 in Saturday’s final round to secure her third-career victory and first since the 2010 CN Canadian Women’s Open. The 24-year old started the day four shots behind third-round leader Angela Stanford and used six birdies and a bogey on the par 4 18th hole to snap a 79 event winless drought. It marks her first LPGA Tour win on American soil.
Wie got off to a blazing start, picking up three birdies in her first six holes and cut the lead to one shot on the par 4 6th hole with a 15-foot birdie putt. After the two-shot swing on No. 6, Stanford had her second bogey of the day on the 8th hole to drop into a tie with Wie and 18-year old sponsor exemption Hyo Joo Kim at 12-under par.
“I wasn't hitting it great today,” said Stanford. “Kind of had some in‑between numbers, so just kind of a little bit of everything. That's the way it goes. Just misclubed a couple of times. Just didn't make good decisions.”
Wie made her back-nine surge with a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 12 and a 15-footer on the 13th to extend her lead to two shots. She unsurprisingly had the majority of cheers from the galleries all week and said she thought the extra praise helped some of her putts drop.
“I definitely feel like they willed a lot of shots in today,” said Wie. “It was so much fun. It was fun to get them excited when I made putts. I didn't want to disappoint them and wanted to make them proud.”
Stanford cut the lead to one shot with a birdie on the par 5 14th hole but Wie responded with another 15-foot birdie putt to extend back to two. Stanford missed the green on the 17th hole and failed to get up and down, giving Wie a three-shot leading heading to the final hole.
“She's been playing great,” Stanford said of Wie. “She's having a great year, so it was bound to happen. I just happened to be the one that caught the buzzsaw. You knew it was going to happen eventually. She's been playing great.”
Wie hit her second shot on the par 4 18th hole to the back fringe and pushed her first putt down a slippery ridge 10 feet past the hole. She came up two feet short on her par putt but already knew she sealed the deal.
“I was kind of thinking what I was doing to do after I made the putt,” said Wie. “Was I going to jump up and down. I made the putt and I just froze. I completely just froze. I couldn't move my body. I was about to cry and ‑‑ my friends out here are just amazing. I feel so much support from them. I think we support each other through hard times and good times. It's amazing they came. It's so awesome.”