Wie misses cut, makes good impression with competitors June 5, 2006 By Brett Avery PGATOUR.COM Contributor SUMMIT, N.J. -â So Michelle Wie didn't qualify for next week's U.S. Open at Winged Foot GC. After the 36 holes she played yesterday at Canoe Brook CC, it seems inevitable that she will earn her spot in a tournament that officially does not carry a "Men's" label. Wie chipped in at the last green in her morning round over the South Course for a 2-under-par 68 that put her in the thick of contention despite a sour putter. When her driver also betrayed her in the afternoon, a 3-over 75 relegated her to a tie for 59th. That was five shots short of becoming the first female to play in one of the game's four major championships. For those keeping score, that means she scored better than nearly 100 men in a field of 153 laden with PGA TOUR and Nationwide professionals. That includes the two men in her pairing: David Gossett, the 1999 U.S. Amateur champion, and club professional Rick Hartmann of Sag Harbor, N.Y., both at 4-over 146. "She handled herself beautifully," Hartmann said to an interview room packed with nearly 100 members of the local, regional and international media. "Obviously she played well. You guys are going to be writing about her for a long, long time." Wie was philosophical about her performance, camouflaging her disappointment. "I guess I'm satisfied with the way I tried," Wie said. "I mean, I just played my hardest out there. I felt like I concentrated 'til the end." A crowd that peaked at about 3,000 spectators -- exceptionally large for an event that typically draws in the hundreds to watch the entire field -- applauded Wie's successes and agonized over her misfortunes throughout the day. And they gave her a warm round of applause after she holed out at the last green, disappointed that the moment in history they'd hoped for had not come to pass. It was nearly a far different outcome, though, as it appeared late into the afternoon that she could qualify. Wie spoiled the mood with three consecutive bogeys late in the round with consecutive three-putt greens at her 31st and 32nd holes of the day and a missed green to drop a shot at the 33rd. "I felt like when I made that par putt (a 10-footer at her 25th hole of the day) I was like, maybe I'm going to make some putts after all," she said. "And the birdie on the next hole (from seven feet) was very nice. Just a couple of shots here and there didn't go where I wanted them to but I just played through. "I'm saying this a lot, but I just played my hardest out there." Brett Quigley of Jupiter, Fla., was tied with Wie at 68 after his morning round on the harder North Course, then sizzled through a course-record, 7-under 63 on the South in the afternoon to become medalist. His 11-under 131 easily bettered a foursome at 134: Michael Harris of Shorewood, Wis., Kent Jones of Albuquerque, Greg Kraft of Largo, Fla., and Kevin Stadler of Scottsdale, Ariz. Quigley may have found the formula for success in Sectional Qualifying after making four bogeys in his last seven holes the previous day in the final round of The Memorial Tournament. "I could have played any course," he said. "I was so relaxed. I came in late last night from The Memorial, I didn't have any expectations but I really thought I'd play well." He also savored the appearance by Wie, preparing for her senior year in high school. "I think it's pretty awesome," he said. "I was maybe six holes from her group when she chipped in (to end the morning round) and it was electric." "I'd like to see her make it. I don't see any negatives to her playing golf and playing well. She's obviously very, very talented. It's not like they gave her a spot in this sectional. She earned it." Among those also landing one of the 18 Open berths were Mark Brooks (135), Tom Pernice Jr. (136), Scott Hend (137) and Brad Fritsch of Canada (138). Fritsch snatched the last spot, surviving a 5-for-1 playoff in the gloaming with birdie-birdie to edge Tyler Hall of nearby Wayne, N.J., who went birdie-par. The other three players made par at the first hole and were eliminated. While the 75 stands out as Wie's downfall, her morning difficulties with the putter left her tottering on the brink of qualifying throughout the day. She missed seven putts inside 12 feet on the South Course, three in the first four holes. Such miscues cannot bode well in Sectional Qualifying. Wie did avoid bogeys in the morning, though, and after she narrowly avoided driving into the pond left of the 18th fairway she put her second shot in a patch of damp grass short and left of the green. "I was looking at my lie and there's mushrooms all around it," she said. "And you know you're in deep trouble when there's mushrooms around your ball. So I was hacking through the rough, I was like, oh, God, get your bogey and get out of here. "I picked my spot, I just focused on there and I actually did land on that spot where I wanted to, and very fortunately the ball went in the hole. Those kind of shots don't happen to me so I was very surprised and very happy." The warm and fuzzy feeling would not last in the afternoon. She hit only five fairways in her first 12 chances, intensifying the pressure on her putter when approach shots stopped landing close to the hole. Still, it appeared that one more birdie would put her in a playoff. "I thought about it for a second," B.J. Wie, her father, said of her chances of making Winged Foot. "The back nine of the North Course I was thinking she would make one more birdie and make it into a playoff. I was aiming at 4 under but the three putts were big disappointments." Despite the deflating moments, he said there were signs of progress. "As compared to last year definitely she improved her game, more mature in terms of course management, short game is much better now, putting is a work in progress," her father said. He chalked it up to her reluctance to use the driver in her starter set as a child, favoring hitting with a driver. While several players in the field drove to the north for an hour for the Barclays Classic at Westchester CC, Wie and her parents climbed in the car and headed in the other direction, three hours south to the LPGA Championship. "Almost making the cut at the John Deere (last year), almost making it here, I feel like I'm a lot more motivated for the summer," she said. "I know what I have to work on for next week and for the following week. And more specifically, obviously putting I have to work on and being a little bit more consistent with my shots." And how should others interpret her coulda-shoulda-woulda day that fell just short? "I'm not really here to prove something, that women can actually play," she said. "But hopefully this just shows or motivates people to do what they want to do."