Rookie Wie prepares for Tour pro debut

Michelle Wie has been around for a while but she is making a debut of sorts at this week’s SBS Open in Kahuku, Hawaii.

That’s because it is her first LPGA Tour event as a full member of the Tour. The 19-year-old, already an endorsement millionaire from when she burst on to the scene five years ago, won her tour card last year at qualifying school.

She has played on invitations at various tours, including the men’s PGA Tour, but now gets a chance to tee it up as a fully fledged professional.

Appropriately for her, her pro career starts in her home event at the Turtle Bay Resort Golf Club. She said in a Reuters article:

“I’m real excited. It feels a little different than actually (being a) rookie. It’s going to be an exciting three days. I’m just glad I got to come back home.”

She has fond memories of the Kahuku, where she tied for second in the 2005 tournament when she was just 15. Although she is a rookie, she has already played in 48 LPGA events, registering 13 top-10 finishes.

She will have some tough competition this week with Tseng Ya-ni of Taiwan, American world number three Paula Creamer and fourth-ranked Suzann Pettersen of Norway among her rivals for the title.

Missing is Sweden’s former world number one Annika Sorenstam, who has retired from the pro circuit after a stellar career that included 10 major titles.

With her teenage years almost over, Wie is now ready to dispense with the gimmicks and go for glory as a proper professional on a recognised circuit. If she plays to her potential, Sorenstam’s record is there to be broken.

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