Wie makes her pro debut with a 70

Friday, October 14, 2005

PALM DESERT, Calif. -- Michelle Wie steadied her 6-foot frame over the ball, unleashed a powerful swing with a 3-wood and sent the ball soaring against the brown-and-green backdrop of Bighorn Golf Club to embark on her professional career Thursday.

When the first round of the Samsung World Championship ended with a bunker-to-bunker bogey for a 2-under 70, it was not much different from the previous 93 rounds the 16-year-old Wie has played against the pros.

Not much different, either, was the name atop the leaderboard.

Watching the Michelle Wie Show unfold in the group ahead, defending champion Annika Sorenstam went about her business with alarming precision on her way to an 8-under 64 and a one-shot lead over Gloria Park and Cristie Kerr.

Wie wound up in a tie for 12th among the 20-player field, dropping shots on two of the last five holes with a tee shot that caromed off the trees on the 14th, and hitting twice into bunkers on the closing hole.

Sorenstam, also the winner in 1995, '96 and '02, is attempting to match Mickey Wright's tour record of five victories in an event. Wright won the Sea Island Open in 1957-58, 1960-61 and 1963.

LPGA Tour

Briny Baird shot a 10-under 62 to top the leaderboard after a low-scoring first round in the Michelin Championship in Las Vegas.

Baird played at the TPC at Summerlin, where the par is 72. The other course being used for the first two rounds, the TPC at The Canyons, is a par 71.

Ryan Palmer shot a 9-under 62 at The Canyons, and Charles Howell III had a 9-under 63 at Summerlin. The players will switch courses Friday and the final two rounds will be played at Summerlin.

Justin Leonard, Kevin Stadler, Michael Allen, Bart Bryant and Scott Gutschewski were 8 under, with all but Leonard playing at Summerlin.

Former UNLV star Ryan Moore had a 5-under 67 at Summerlin, while Phil Mickelson shot a 4-under 67, and John Daly had a 3-under 68, both at The Canyons.

Madrid Open

MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Five-time major champion Seve Ballesteros had a 6-over 77 in his first stroke-play event in two years, while Sweden's Robert Karlsson and England's Mark Roe shot 63s to take the first-round lead in the Madrid Open.

Darren Clarke and Raphael Jacquelin opened with 64s on the Club de Campo course.

Ballesteros won the 1995 Spanish Open at Club de Campo for the last of his 50 European tour titles. The 48-year-old Ballesteros has had back and knee problems.

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