Michelle Wie Makes Hot Start at Texas Shootout

Michelle Wie. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Michelle Wie. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Could Michelle Wie be coming to the end of her 2-year slump? The signs are all positive.

Michelle Wie is showing signs that’s she’s poised for a major comeback this season. The 2014 US Women’s Open champion and LPGA fashionista took a long tumble down the world rankings during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, but her time in the golf slump desert could be coming to an end.

Wie’s first round at the Texas Shootout is only the most recent signal that she’s heading for a very fine 2017 season.

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Starting on the 10th hole at Las Colinas, Wie quickly fired off four birdies and made the turn at 4-under par, within shouting distance of MJ Hur’s 6-under lead. Although she slowed down after the turn, collecting four straight pars, then stumbled into a bogey on the par-4 5th hole and dropped back a shot, she regained her first nine momentum with a birdie on the par-5 7th to finish her second nine at even par. That put Wie in the house at 4-under and starting the 2nd round sharing the 2nd slot on the board with a fairly large mob of seven.

Wie’s stats for the round are thrilling her fans. She hit 10 of 13 fairways and was averaging  275 yards off the tee. That puts Michelle Wie out in front of everybody on the Tour this week except Lexi Thompson with her long game. It even puts her well ahead of her own season-long stats.

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Wie hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation – that’s 88.9%, four percentage points ahead of the Tour GIR leader, So Yeon Ryu. (Ryu’s been averaging 84%.) Only on the putting surface did Wie, with 29 putts in her round, fall below the top-5 in the Tour-wide stats. That’s been her major weakness and it’s where she’s made the greatest progress in reclaiming her game. She still has some distance to travel, but there’s much reason for optimism.

Wie has recorded two top-10 finishes this year, at the HSBC Women’s Champions and the ANA Inspiration and not missed the cut since the Tour’s season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic.

As a point of comparison, Wie missed 11 cuts in 2016, a year that has to be a low point in her career.  Her highest finish, a T10, came very late in the season at the Blue Bay LPGA.

Paired with Gerina Piller, another long bomber, and 2017 ANA Inspiration champion So Yeon Ryu, Michelle Wie tees off Friday morning at 8:27am local time. Golf Channel coverage of the Texas Shootout 2nd round begins at 12 noon ET. Wie fans will know by lunch time if she’s has her game dialed in this week.

Next: Texas Shootout Field Review

Am I ready to start talking about watching Michelle Wie hoist another trophy? Not yet. But I am ready to start talking about Michelle Wie getting into contention and staying there. Let’s see if she can add another top 10 finish to her 2017 resume this week in Texas.