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Category: Michelle Wie

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Stacy Lewis the champion

Stacy-lewis4_350 It was a par putt that won it, a curving 11-footer needed by Stacy Lewis after her drive on the par-three 17th hole landed in the bunker.

Lewis measured the putt with no expression on her face. "It's gonna die left," she told her caddy, and, sure enough, that's what it did. As the putt slowed, it took a left turn into the cup. Lewis pumped her fist and Yani Tseng's shoulders slumped. A moment later Tseng bogeyed that 17th hole leaving her three shots behind Lewis.

So the walk up the par-five 18th hole, with the gallery applauding Lewis, a 26-year-old University of Arkansas graduate who spent many of her teenage years wearing a back brace because she had scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and who is an enthusiastic supporter of many scoliosis-centered charities, was made by Lewis with perfect posture and a very curving smile.

Lewis won her first LPGA Tour event Sunday with the Kraft Nabisco Championship victory, a major on par with the Master's since it has been played at the same course, Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, for four decades. She won it by playing side by side with world No. 1 and defending champion Tseng on Saturday and Sunday. She played from behind -- Tseng led by two going into Sunday's round -- and she did it by making only one bogey and by withstanding Tseng's confidence during the final round. Tseng hugged the trophy Sunday morning, as if wanting to make it clear how much she wanted it again.

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Kraft Nabisco Championship: Lewis back in lead with Tseng [Updated]

Stacy-lewis_600

Stacy Lewis, 26, a four-time All-American at the University of Arkansas, had back-to-back birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 and has scrambled back into a tie with third-round leader and defending champion Yani Tseng on Sunday afternoon through four holes of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

Tseng also birdied the par-five second hole but spent much of her trip out in the rough on the par-four fourth hole and ended up with a bogey five.

Coming up quickly had been 22-year-old Morgan Pressel, who won this tournament, considered the equivalent of the women's Masters since it is a major that has been played on the same course for 40 years, as an 18-year-old in 2007. Pressel was two under through the first five holes and had gotten to 10 under for the tournament, two shots behind the leaders.

But she just finished off a disastrous triple-bogey seven on the sixth hole when her second shot  bounced off a tree and into the water. She took a seven on the par-four hole and is now seven under for the tournament, five behind the leaders.

Pressel's partner Sunday is Michelle Wie, who is even par so far. She got the large crowd going with a birdie on that par-five second hole but her inconsistency evident all week is still here as Wie bogeyed the fourth. She's six shots behind the co-leaders and that seems a bit much to make up. She's also tied with 33-year-old Angela Stanford.

RELATED:

Kraft Nabisco Championship leaderboard

Yani Tseng leads Kraft Nabisco Championship after three rounds

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Stacy Lewis hits out of a greenside bunker at No. 17 on Saturday during the third round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Tseng pulls even with Lewis

Yani-tseng_300 It took Yani Tseng seven holes to wipe out her three-shot deficit to Stacy Lewis during the third round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the year on the LPGA Tour.

Tseng, the defending champion and world No. 1, has birdied the second, fourth and seventh holes so far Saturday. Tseng is playing with Lewis, who has needed a steady dose of two- and three-foot par putts to remain even for the day and nine under par for the tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

Morgan Pressel, winner here in 2007; Brittany Lincicome, winner here in 2009; former UCLA golfer Jane Park and Angela Stanford, who is five under on the day through 16 holes, are tied for third at five under.

Michelle Wie is where she was at the start of the day, tied for eighth, even par so far today and three under overall. Wie birdied the par-five second hole, bogeyed the sixth and is pretty much running in place so far in her quest to win her first major.

One new name on the leaderboard is 33-year-old Se Ri Pak, winner of 25 events in her career, five  of them majors but no Kraft Nabisco titles. Pak, whose best finish here was a tie for ninth in 2002, is three under for the day and for the tournament, tied with Wie and Amy Yang for eighth. Pak was the youngest woman inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame when she made it in November of 2007 at the age of 30 years and one month.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Yani Tseng hits out of a greenside bunker at No. 1 during the third round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Saturday. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press

What if, ahhh...eeee....Michelle Wie was more like....un....ohhh..Maria Sharapova?

Sharapova_300 Watching the final set of the Sony Ericsson Open women's championship match between Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, and the groundstrokes are breathtaking and the fierce fight of the wavery-serving Sharapova is amazing. She's got 42 unforced errors and pretty much can't hold her serve but she's sticking to the second set as if the finish line is a wall of glue and Azarenka is trying to pry her off.

Soon as this is over, it's off to the golf course to focus on the third round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage and all the noisy screeching, grunting coming from this tennis match makes my mind wander. What if golfers howled on their backswing?

Imagine if Michelle Wie let out an "Ahhh....EEEE..." every time she teed off while on the hole in front of her Morgan Pressel was howling ""Unnnn...ooooof,.." on every iron shot and Brittany Lincicome over on another hole was screeching "Aiiiii...Yeee..," as she putted.

I have a vision of small desert animals scurrying about with their little paws over their ears and the human gallery running for the hills.

Well, Azarenka just beat Sharapova, 6-1, 6-4. So off to the golf course. And blessed, blessed silence.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Maria Sharapova lets out a yell as she hits a backhand return to Victoria Azarenka in the Sony Ericsson Open final on Saturday. Credit: Andrew Innerarity / Reuters

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Michelle Wie best round of the morning

Lizleunc Even after she shot a two-over 74 on Thursday in the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Michelle Wie was not unhappy with her game. She said she had hit the ball well mostly, made a couple of bad strokes but even sitting 54th and seemingly more in danger of missing the cut than challenging the leaders, Wie was not discouraged.

And for good reason.

Wie has just finished her second round and she's in with a score of five-under-par 67 on a day where early indications are that scores will be higher as the continuing heat bakes the greens and makes them faster and faster. Wie is now tied for 10th at three-under for the tournament (141). She had six birdies and a single bogey on her round.

She trails current leader Stacy Lewis, who has a two-day total of nine-under 135 by six shots.

First-round co-leader Brittany Lincicome is in with an even-par 72 and is tied for second with Jane Park of Rancho Cucamonga who had a second-round 70. They are three behind Lewis.

Among the first round of finishers Friday, Sophie Gustafson of Sweden also made a big move with a four-under 68. She moved from a tie for 27th into a current tie for fifth.

Cristie Kerr, ranked No. 3 in the world coming into the tournament, is already one-over through three holes of her second round and seven-over for the tournament. She will have to start making some birdies if she's to have any hope of surviving Friday afternoon's cut.

RELATED:

Stacy Lewis opens 3-shot lead in second round

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Former UCLA golfer a shot out of lead

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Michelle Wie. Credit: Mark Ralston / Getty Images.

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Stacy Lewis opens 3-shot lead in second round

Liziz2nc Stacy Lewis, the 25-year-old from The Woodlands, Texas, who is an eager participant in charities that benefit sufferers from scoliosis (curvature of the spine), which put Lewis in a body cast when she was 11 and caused her to need back surgery to implant rods and screws in her spine when she was 18 (after which she promptly went and became an All-American golfer at the University of Arkansas), has opened up a three-shot lead in the second round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Friday.

Lewis finished Friday with a score of 69 and has a two-day total of 135. Her closest pursuer is one-time UCLA player Jane Park, who is from Rancho Cucamonga and who shot a two-under 70 Friday to put her at six-under for the tournament with a two-day total of 138.

Brittany Lincicome, who was the first-round co-leader with Lewis, is also at six under through 16 and is even-par in her round Friday.

Sophie Gustafson from Sweden, along with Michelle Wie and Sun Young Yoo, are all working on rounds of three-under so far Friday. Gustafson is through 15 holes and is three-under for the tournament, in a tie for seventh after starting the day tied for 27th. Wie is through 14 holes and is one-under for the tournament and has moved from a tie for 54th to a tie for 18th. Yoo is also tied for 18th.

RELATED:

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome tied again

Former UCLA golfer a shot out of lead at KNC

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Stacy Lewis. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters.

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Former UCLA golfer a shot out of lead

Photo: Jane Park. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters.
Jane Park,
who grew up in Rancho Cucamonga and who played for UCLA for a season before turning professional, is a shot behind leader Stacy LewisFriday in the second round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

Park, who had spoken Thursday about how much she loves the course, said, "You know, the greens are very pure. I love it when you hit a putt and it goes right where you want it to go. It's an intimidating course, but it just provides a really good challenge, it challenges all aspects of your game, short game, driving, irons, everything."

Lewis, a first-round co-leader, is alone at the top at seven-under through nine holes. Park is six-under (she's two-under on the day and had joined Lewis in the lead until bogeying the par-three fifth hole).

The other first-round co-leader, Brittany Lincicome, is third now, at six-under through nine holes.

Michelle Wie, who had started tied for 54th place and two-over par, seems to have found her game so far Friday. She is four-under on the day, two-under for the tournament and tied for ninth with another former UCLA golfer, Mariajo Uribe.

RELATED:

New leaders emerging in the afternoon at KNC

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Getting hot in the desert

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Jane Park. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters.

Kraft Nabisco Championship: New leaders emerging in the afternoon

Lincicome_300 For most of the day there were co-leaders at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA's first major of the season. Germany's Sandra Gal and Japan's Mika Miyazato (note: an earlier version of this post listed Miyazato's first name as Ai), among the morning 's early players, had finished with scores of five under par at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

And it looks as if the day may end with co-leaders as well. Just different ones.

Stacy Lewis, a former All-American at the University of Arkansas who has an iron rod in her back because she had a severe case of scoliosis (curvature of the spine), and Brittany Lincicome, who won her only major title here in 2009, posted six-under 66s even though they were hiding in the few patches of shade as temperatures climbed higher than 100 degrees on the course. That puts them a stroke in front of Gal and Miyazato, who both posted 67s.

Lewis, 25, hasn't won yet on the LPGA Tour, but her round Thursday featured seven birdies including three in a row on 13, 14, 15, which seemed almost a fighting response to her single bogey. Lewis made a 6-foot putt to keep that bogey from something worse and she said that was a momentum switch. "I think that helped me really get going," she said.

Lincicome, also 25 and from Seminole, Fla., had a bogey-free round.

There are still some challengers on the course who could join the leaders. Jane Park of Rancho Cucamonga (she also played one year at UCLA), is five under with five holes to play. And rising British star Melissa Reid is two behind the leaders with two holes left.

Michelle Wie, who had arrived at the place where she first played as a 13-year-old in 2003 with high hopes, is two-over through 17 holes and tied for 58th.

RELATED:

Kraft Nabisco Championship leaderboard

Cristie Kerr, Michelle Wie are optimistic at Mission Hills

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Brittany Lincicome tees off at No. 11 on Thursday during the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Credit: Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

Kraft Nabisco Championships: Two former champs starting well

Pressel_275 Morgan Pressel, 22, won her only major -- and her first tournament of any kind -- in 2007 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage. Thursday she had a feisty two-under 70 that has her tied for sixth with 20 others, including defending champion Yani Tseng and Brittany Lincicome, who won her first and only major here in 2008 and who started her first round birdie-birdie.

Former UCLA player Mariajo Uribe from Colombia also finished at two-under.

Michelle Wie, a big crowd favorite who first played here in 2003 as a 13-year-old, just parred her first two holes, the par-four 10th and par-five 11th. There are 12 golfers yet to tee off.

Sandra Gal and Mika Miyazato have both finished with five-under-par 67s and that's the standard so far.

RELATED:

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Mika Miyazato shares lead

Kraft Nabisco Championship: Sandra Gal posts score to shoot for

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Morgan Pressel plays her tee shot at the third hole on Thursday. Credit: David Cannon / Getty Images

Kia Classic: Gal alone in lead, Kerr, Wie, Tseng moving up

Sandra-gal_300 Sandra Gal, who is looking for her fisrt LPGA Tour victory, is alone in the lead at 14 under par through four holes during the final round of the Kia Classic at Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms on Sunday.

Jiyai Shin, who started the day at 15 under, has bogeyed two of her first four holes.

And some of the biggest names in the women's golf are finding their rhythm.

Cristie Kerr, who is the top American in the Rolex Rankings, the measuring stick of the best in the world, at No. 3, is four under through eight holes Sunday and she's moved into a tie for fourth with fellow American Michelle Wie, who is ranked 11th and is three under today through seven holes, and South Korea's I.K. Kim, No. 7 in the world.

The No. 1-ranked player in the world, Yani Tseng, is four under on the day and tied with Diamond Bar's Mindy Kim for eighth place at seven under.

RELATED:

LPGA Kia Classic leaderboard

Jiyai Shin leads Sandra Gal heading into final round

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Sandra Gal waves to the gallery after making a birdie putt during the third round of the Kia Classic on Saturday. Credit: Scott Halleran / Getty Images

Kia Classic: The battle is on between Jiyai Shin and Sandra Gal

Shin1_300 With galleries six deep on the first hole and the temporary grandstand jampacked, the final pairing of the Kia Classic, leader Jiyai Shin of South Korea, and Sandra Gal of Germany, who is a shot back, are on their way. Both women parred the par-five, 548-yard first hole so Shin remains at 15-under par and Gal at 14-under.

There seem to be plenty of birdies to be found on the course, though. Na Yeon Choi, who started the day in third place at nine-under, has already birdied the first hole and Michelle Wie has jumped into fourth place (from a tie for eighth to start the round) with two birdies on her first four holes to get to seven-under. Making the biggest move of the day so far is 33-year-old veteran Marcy Hart who started the final round tied for 33rd. She's six-under through 12 holes Sunday on the Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms.

Hart, who is also trying to earn one of 10 available spots in next week's Kraft Nabisco tournament, the season's first major, is now tied for fifth with world No. 1 Yani Tseng, who is three-under today, Diamond Bar's Mindy Kim, who is also aiming for one of the Kraft qualifying spots, South Korea's I.K. Kim and Sweden's Anna Nordqvist.

For the first time this year the LPGA left 10 spots for this first major for the top 10 women who haven't otherwise qualified for the Kraft Nabisco.

RELATED:

LPGA Kia Classic leaderboard

Jiyai Shin leads Sandra Gal heading into final round

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Jiyai Shin watches a putt during her third round of play at the Kia Classic on Saturday. Credit: Scott Halleran / Getty Images

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