In her 11th appearance at the Women's US Open and making her 38th start in a major, Michelle Wie etched her name in the history books at the esteemed Pinehurst No. 2.
Growing up in the limelight of big stage golf, the 24-year old from Hawaii has played under lofty expectations her entire career and has now joined the elite company of those who can call themselves ‘major champions.’ With a final-round even-par 70, Wie finished the championship two shots ahead of runner-up and world No. 1 Stacy Lewis.
“I can’t even think straight,” as Wie opened up her press conference. “I’m so happy right now. I’m just unbelievably happy. I’m so honored to be part -- to have my name on the trophy. Just so grateful for everything. I’m just really happy. I’m really thankful, just everything, feeling every single emotion I can right now."
Wie started the day tied with co-leader Amy Yang at 2-under par and got off to a shaky start when the duo exchanged bogeys on the par 4 1st hole. But it was Wie who held it together and watched her playing partner unravel through the final 18 holes of the championship. Yang would double bogey the second hole and bogeyed the par 4 5th and never seemed to recover after dropping three shots back.
Wie would par eight consecutive holes after her bogey on the 1st and looked like she would start to separate herself from the pack with a 10-foot eagle putt on the 10th hole. But world No. 1 Stacy Lewis exuded her fighter mentality on the back nine to make things interesting. Lewis, who finished with a 4-under 66 to tie the championship low round, had eight birdies on Sunday, the most by a player in a single round this week.
Wie walked to the 18th hole with a two shot lead and soaked up every moment. Just one week earlier she walked during the final round of the men’s Open and dreamed of herself in Martin Kaymer’s shoes. She can now be a believer that dreams do come true.
“It was crazy,” said Wie. “I mean, like I said before, this week came into a full circle. I walked on Sunday with Rickie and Martin. I wanted so badly to be in that position, just to kind of have a leisurely walk up to 18 and make a par to win kind of thing. And I feel so lucky. Just seeing everyone root for me and just felt so special. Just knowing that my parents were there. Just knowing that my friends were there. It felt so special. I kind of wish I could do it over and over again, it’s just so much fun.”
Meanwhile, Northern ireland’s Stephanie Meadow completed a superb professional golf debut by finishing third. The 22-year-old from Jordanstown carded a great round of 69 to finish on +1 after four rounds. Her pursuit of Michelle Wie faltered on the front nine with seven pars and two bogeys. An eagle on 10, however, sparked a fightback and she birdied 18 to claim third for herself.
Meadow, who has connections to Royal Portrush and University of Alabama, was the leading European, with Scotland’s Catriona Matthew tied for 10th.