Major breakthrough for Wie in 69th Women’s U.S. Open

14_USWO_WieFri_0620.jpgMichelle Wie won her first major championship, using an eagle to fend off a charge from the world’s top-ranked female player on the way to Sunday’s victory in the U.S. Women’s Open.

A decade removed from arriving on the women’s golf circuit as a teenage standout, Wie finally secured the coveted result.

She posted an even-par 70 in the final round at Pinehurst No. 2, winning by two shots over Stacy Lewis.

It capped an historic two-week stretch with the men first playing the same course for the U.S. Open.

Wie, a 24-year-old Hawaiian, had never finished better than tied for third place eight years ago in 10 previous U.S. Women’s Opens.

She was 2-under 278 for the 2014 tournament.

There were several contenders surfacing on the last day, most notably top-rated Lewis.

Wie posted an eagle on the par-5 10th hole, establishing a four-stroke lead when Lewis took a bogey a few holes in front of her. Wie held a similar lead at the same stage a day earlier before ending the third round tied atop the leaderboard.

This time, she held steady — though a double-bogey on No. 16 created a degree of drama. She birdied the next hole — a par-3) — to re-build a two-stroke edge.

After 10 top-10 finishes in her first 37 majors, this will be the most memorable for Wie.

Lewis’ birdie on No. 13 had pulled her within a shot of the lead before Wie’s eagle and a bogey for Lewis.

Lewis posted 66, finishing with birdies on the last two holes. She was even-par 280 for four rounds.

Lewis’ last-day score matched Juli Inkster’s mark from a day earlier as the lowest round in the tournament. When she finished, Lewis trailed by three shots as Wie had six holes to complete.

Wie took a bogey on the first hole Sunday, but she didn’t let that derail her despite several golfers emerging as the potential prime contenders.

Third-round co-leader Amy Yang dropped quickly with a bogey and double bogey.

So Yeon Ryu, the 2011 champion from South Korea, moved to second place based on three birdies across the first four holes.

Lewis, who was the first-round leader, had four birdies on the frontside in the last round to rise into the mix. She won the ShopRite LPGA Classic three weeks earlier.

Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow posted 1-under 69 in the final round. The recent Alabama graduate, competing in her first event as a professional, ended up in third place at 1-over.

Yang was fourth at 2-over following a 74 in the last round.

Inkster, who recorded a 66 a day earlier, was in position to become the tournament’s first top-10 finisher after reaching age 50. Instead, she shot 75 and ended up tied for 15th place at 7-over.

Inkster, who turns 54 years old Tuesday, said this would be her 35th and final U.S. Women’s Open. She shared third place entering the last round.

Photo courtesy of Women’s US Open

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