2014 U.S. Women’s Open: Wie captures historic first major title at Pinehurst

PINEHURST, N.C. – Michelle Wie became a history-maker again when she holed out her final par putt on Sunday and won the first-ever U.S. Women’s Open contested on the No. 2 course at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club.

Playing in her 11th career USGA Women’s Open Championship, the 24-year old from Hawaii finished her final round with an even-par performance of 70 that included an eagle, birdie, bogey and double-bogey that was enough for her to earn the two-stroke win (-2, 278) over Stacy Lewis.

As she hugged her mother and fellow Tour players on the 18th green while wiping away tears, the win held extra significance since she had so many familiar faces surrounding her.

The 2014 U.S. Women’s Open was Wie’s second USGA championship title, as she also won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links back in 2003.

“I was just thinking about that – when I first hoisted a USGA trophy when I was 13,” Wie said.

“Just seeing – like I said on stage – just seeing all the rules officials ever since I was 10. I kind of grew up with them. U.S. Opens have been such a special part of my life just because I get to see everyone again. It’s like seeing old family and friends. But, yeah, just everything kind of what I’ve been through, all the ups and all the downs, this is definitely, it’s all worth it.”

Wie managed to hold off the top-ranked player in the world, Lewis, who finished her tournament with a 4-under 66, the low-round-of-the-day, and sat at even par overall (280).

Lewis’ round included four bogeys that were overlapped by eight birdies, a record for not only the women’s championship, but also for the men’s U.S. Open that was played on the same course a week earlier.

The previous record was six birdies holed in a single round.

“Yeah, I really got off to a terrible start,” Lewis said.

“I hit it in the native and then hit a terrible shot and did really well to make bogey on the first hole. And then kind of started just a series of hard holes where I just hit some great iron shots. I was talking to Mike Davis, I told him that I birdied 2, 6, 8 and 9 on the front nine. And I think that’s pretty crazy to do on this golf course. Once I made the turn and got to 8 and 9 and birdied those two – that was when I knew I had a chance then. I knew if I could make a few more and hang in there that I would still have a chance.”

Lewis waited to see if Wie would falter and possibly force a playoff between the two.

That didn’t happen as Wie made a critical birdie putt – 22 feet in length – at the par-3 17th that restored her two-stroke margin over the field after she double-bogeyed the 16th as a result of taking an unplayable drop.

“I felt comfortable on 17,” Wie said.

“It’s a hole that I kind of did well on. Obviously I was very nervous, just because I made a mess out of things on 16, but I just knew what I needed to do. I knew I needed to make birdie, to make it easier on 18.”

Earning her fourth career LPGA victory and second of the season, Wie also took home a winner’s check of $720,000 and moved ahead of Lewis to assume top spot on the Tour’s Money List.

The most satisfying aspect of finally winning her first career major and wrapping her arms around the Harton S. Semple Trophy was the feeling it gave her to want to win again.

“It makes me definitely very hungry,” Wie said.

“Like I said, this week, seeing my hard work pay off, it makes it more fun to go out there. I feel like I’m definitely working harder and I definitely love going out there and hitting balls and working on my game, just because it’s fun when hard work pays off. This is definitely motivating for me. I want to get better. I want to win more, just because it’s so much fun.”

Notable finishes

Stephanie Meadow finished third (+1, 281) by posting a 1-under 69 that included an eagle in her first professional start after playing as an amateur on the Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup Team just two weeks earlier.

Amy Yang earned sole possession of fourth place (+2, 282) with a 4-over par round that began with her tied for the lead with Wie at -2 overall.

Canadian Brooke Mackenzie Henderson was the only amateur to break par in the final round with a 1-under 69 and finished tied for 10th and was low amateur for the championship.

Entering the final round having led after 36 and 54 holes played, Wie didn’t post a single three-putt throughout the tournament on greens that were deemed the most challenging aspect of the Donald Ross design that Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw had restored.

While sitting tied as 10th best in rolling the ball into the hole with a total 119 putts, she ranked tied for fifth in hitting 50 of 72 greens in regulation.

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2014 U.S. Women’s Open Leaderboard (uswomensopen.com)