Wie loses to BYU junior in Public Links quarterfinals
LEBANON, Ohio -- One step at a time in Michelle Wie's quest for The Masters.
Her hopes for next year ended Friday when Clay Ogden birdied four of the first five holes and eased to a 5-and-4 victory in their quarterfinal match at the U.S. Amateur Public Links.
The 15-year-old high school junior needed to win the tournament to become the first woman to get an invitation to the Masters.
Instead, she'll have to settle for having been the first woman to qualify for a men's USGA event. At least for now.
"Obviously I'm disappointed, but it's not the end of the world," Wie said.
Wie shot rounds of 76 and 72 on Monday and Tuesday to make the 64-player field for match play by one stroke. She dispatched her opponents in her first three matches before running into Ogden, a junior at Brigham Young University from West Point, Utah.
"I don't feel like I have proved anything," she said.
Ogden was 4-up after the first five holes and never let up.
"You've got to keep the gas on and keep it going," Ogden said.
The lead swelled to 5-up at the turn when Wie's approach at No. 9 hit a tree and bounced into a lake. It was one of the few mistakes she made.
"It's hard to beat birdies," Wie said. "It wasn't like I was playing bad. I was losing with a lot of pars. He played really great."
She won her only hole when Ogden bogeyed 10, but Ogden came right back with a birdie to win the 11th and closed out the match three holes later.
On the deciding hole, Ogden missed the green, but his chip from the rough landed softly on the green and rolled to less than a foot from the pin. Wie conceded the putt and the two shook hands.
Asked what she learned from the match, Wie said, "You have to make lots of birdies and give your opponent no chance."
Ogden, who lost to eventual champion Ryan Moore 2-and-1 in the quarterfinals a year ago, beat University of Wisconsin junior Garrett Jones 2-and-1 to advance to the 36-hole final on Saturday at Shaker Run Golf Club.
In the other semifinal, Martin Ureta of Chile needed 20 holes to eliminate medalist Anthony Kim, a first-team All-America at Oklahoma.
Both semifinals were held up for several hours because of lightning in the area.
Several hundred people again followed Wie everywhere she went, cheering on every one of her shots and groaning when her putts slid past the hole. There was a smattering of applause when Ogden missed his par putt at No. 10.
Ogden said the crowd didn't make him nervous.
"That's just my demeanor," he said. "I never get too excited over anything."
Ogden quieted Wie's backers on the first hole. His second shot on the par-5 hole found the rough just left of the green, but he chipped within inches of the pin and Wie conceded the birdie.
Meanwhile, Wie caught a bad break when her second shot not only went into a greenside bunker but also ended up caked with wet sand. She blasted out into another greenside bunker and then hit onto the green 20 feet past the pin to lose the hole.
At the second, Ogden made a five-foot birdie putt.
After the two traded pars, Ogden rolled in a six-footer at No. 4 and a 10-footer at the signature 5th hole for birdies to go 4-up.
Through those opening five holes, Ogden hit every fairway and every green in regulation. For her part, Wie was seldom in trouble but found herself far behind.
"He played amazing with those four birdies on the first five holes," Wie said. "He played awesome today. There was really no room for error."
The week at the Public Links was just the latest adventure for Wie. The 6-footer barely missed the cut at two PGA Tour events and was tied for the lead at the U.S. Women's Open earlier this month before faltering in the final round.
Wie travels to France for the Evian before playing in the Women's British Open and then will have some time off before starting her school year.
Will she make a decision soon about turning pro?
"No," she said, "but you are going to find out when I do."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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