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Friday, 27 June 2014

Koihime Musou Girls and Famous Koreans, Part VII: Wei Yan and Michelle Wie


Michelle Wie (Korean/Hangul/Hanja: Wie Seong-mi/위성미/魏聖美; born October 11, 1989 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA) is an American professional golfer who plays on the LPGA Tour. At age 10, she became the youngest player to qualify for a USGA amateur championship. Wie also became the youngest winner of the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links and the youngest to qualify for a LPGA Tour event. She turned professional shortly before her 16th birthday in 2005, accompanied by an enormous amount of publicity and endorsements. She won her first major at the 2014 U.S. Women's Open.

Wie was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the only child of immigrant parents from South Korea who came to the United States in the 1980s. Her father, Wie Byung-wook/위병욱, is a former professor of transportation management at the University of Hawaii. Her mother, Bo, was South Korea's women's amateur golf champion in 1985, and competed in a Miss Korea beauty pageant. Her paternal grandfather, Dr. Wie Sang-kyu/위상규, a resident of Jangheung County, Southern Jeolla Province, was an emeritus professor at Seoul National University. Coincidentally, Michelle Wie is originated from Jangheung Wie Clan (장흥 위씨/長興魏氏). When she was born, Wie was a dual citizen of South Korea (by jus sanguinis) and the United States by (jus soli). She renounced South Korean citizenship in February 2013.

Wie graduated from Punahou School in Honolulu in June 2007. On December 19, 2006, she announced that she would be attending Stanford University, where there are family ties. Her paternal grandfather was a visiting professor, and an aunt and uncle are both graduates. She enrolled in September 2007 as a freshman, but as a professional golfer, Wie was not eligible under NCAA rules to play for Stanford's golf team. During her first three years at Stanford, she attended only during the fall and winter quarters, running from late September through mid-March each year. She took leaves of absence during the rest of the year to play professional golf.

Wie completed her studies at Stanford in March 2012 with a major in communications. She participated in the university's graduation ceremony in June 2012.

After passing LPGA Qualifying School in December 2008, Wie declared that she still planned to play in tournaments against men. However for the second consecutive year, she did not receive a sponsor exemption to play in the Sony Open in Hawaii where she had played four years in a row from 2004 through 2007. Her first tournament as an LPGA member was the season-opening SBS Open at Turtle Bay where she shot 66, 70 to move into a tie with Angela Stanford going into the final round of the tournament. Wie held a three-stroke lead with eight holes remaining, but ended up losing to Stanford by three strokes.

It was reported in early March, 2009, that Wie had left the William Morris Agency, the Hollywood talent agency that had represented her since she turned pro in 2005, and would be signing with sports agency IMG.

At the second major of the year, the LPGA Championship, she finished tied for 23rd, her best finish in a major since 2006. During this tournament she also scored her first recorded hole-in-one as a professional. However, the day after her final round of the LPGA Championship, she failed to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open due to a mediocre performance at a sectional qualifying tournament.

In August, at Rich Harvest Farms golf course in Sugar Grove, Illinois, Wie was a captain's pick for the United States team in Solheim Cup competition, where she led the American squad to victory with a 3-0-1 performance, the best record on the American team.

On November 15, 2009, Wie won her first professional individual tournament, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico, a limited field event on the LPGA Tour, posting a score of thirteen under par 275 for a two-stroke margin over fellow American Paula Creamer, and beating Shin Jiyai, Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel by two strokes. She then finished second in the Ladies European Tour season-ending Dubai Ladies Masters tournament on December 9–12, 2009, shooting a 15-under-par 273, which put her three shots behind winner Kim In-Kyung.

On August 29, 2010, she posted a three-shot win over a full field at the CN Canadian Women's Open, held at St. Charles Country Club in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for her second career professional victory. In her next LPGA event two weeks later, she finished second in the 54-hole P&G NW Arkansas Championship shooting 201 (−12) and losing to Yani Tseng by one stroke after giving up an overnight three-stroke lead.

On April 19, 2014, Wie won her third LPGA Tour event, the LPGA Lotte Championship. She was four strokes behind Angela Stanford after 54 holes but shot a 67 to Stanford's 73 to win by two strokes.

On June 22, 2014, Wie won her fourth LPGA Tour event and first major championship, the U.S. Women's Open. She was tied for the lead with Amy Yang after 54 holes at two-under-par. She double-bogeyed the 16th hole to fall within one shot of Stacy Lewis, but birdied the next hole and parred the last hole for a final round par-70 to win by two strokes over Lewis.