Though Lucy Li – an 11-year old golf star who became the youngest to ever qualify for the US Open – remained in the spotlight for most of the tournament, it was former child-star Michelle Wie who ended a champion.
Wie won her first major title at the US Open on Sunday, accomplishing a dream 14 years in the making.
Wie emerged as a golf prodigy at the age of 10, becoming the youngest qualifier ever at the USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship. Just three years later, she made history again as the youngest golfer to ever make the cut at an LPGA tour event.
Her name appeared in the headlines as she competed against the men on the PGA Tour and remained vocal about wanting to compete in the Masters. She made numerous cuts and frequently appeared on top-ten lists since her teenage years.
Though she achieved amazing accomplishments, like graduating from Stanford University with a degree in communications, she repeatedly fell short of major titles on the field.
During the final three holes of Pinehurst No. 2 – the same course the men played their national championship on just a week earlier – it looked as though Wie’s pattern might continue after a double bogey on the 16th hole.
After years of waiting for the moment, Wie sank a 25-foot birdie putt on hole 17, helping her to clinch a two-shot victory over No. 1-ranked Stacey Lewis and finish at 2-under.
In the second week of golf at Pinehurst, Wie was the only player to beat par.
“That kind of emotion,” Wie said. “That kind of pressure… I’ll think of that putt as one of the best putts I’ve ever hit in my life.”
She said without all of the downs and hardship, she didn’t think she’d appreciate the ups as much as she does.
“The fact that I kind of went through a hard period of my life, the fact that this trophy is right next to me, it means so much more to me than it ever would have when I was 15,” she said.
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