Mixed reaction about golf phenom Wie Wie | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Mixed reaction about golf phenom Wie Wie

GENOA – Michelle Wie was thousands of miles from the U.S. Open local qualifier at the Genoa Lakes Golf Club on Monday, but participants still had plenty to say about the 16-year-old phenom.

Trying to become the first female to qualify for the Open, Wie won a local qualifier in Kahuku, Hawaii, on May 15 with a score of even-par 72. Wie is believed to be the first woman to advance to sectionals in the 106-year history of the U.S. Open.

Collegiate and struggling tour players expressed support of Wie in her attempt to qualify for the Open.

“It is the U.S. Open, and the Open kind of says it all,” said former University of Nevada player Adam Martin of Bend, Ore. “I think her game speaks for itself. I don’t see any way we can be mad or not allow her to do it when she’s shown that she can shoot the numbers to qualify for these kinds of things.”

Added current Nevada player John Cassidy, “It’s a lot better than her getting exemptions into tournaments. If she can play her own way in, she deserves it, whether she’s a woman or not.”

Wie’s sectional-qualifying performance last week caught Cassidy by surprise.

“I didn’t think she was going to make it through locals, but she made it into Pub Links last year and made it pretty far and no one thought she was going to do that either,” Cassidy said. “It’s tough to be surprised by what she does. She’s just that good.”

However, the players interviewed all agreed that Wie shouldn’t be given sponsor exemptions into tournaments. She recently received one for the U.S. Women’s Open and another for the European Tour’s Omega European Masters.

“That hurts the struggling tour players who need that money or need that spot to secure themselves a living for next year,” Cassidy said.

Wie can realize her dream of playing in the Open on June 5 when she participates in the 36-hole sectional in Canoe Brook, N.J. If she finishes among the selected qualifiers, she will qualify for this year’s U.S. Open.

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