After missing the cut by one stroke at last year's Sony Open in Hawaii, 15-year-old golfing wunderkind Michelle Wie hoped for a rousing encore this
It was a bit of an anti-climax in the end, however, as she battled to a five-over-par 75 in the first round in Honolulu today. Wie struggled in strong
winds at Waialae Country Club and did well not to shoot higher, parring her final seven holes after earlier dropping five holes mid-round.
"At least I'm not last," said Wie, who was tied for 120th in the 144-man field.
Americans Stewart Cink, Brett Quigley, Tom Byrum and Hank Kuehne led on four-under 66, while it was a bleak day for the 14-man Australian contingent.
Craig Parry was the only Australian to break par, equal 18th at one-under 69. Paul Gow shot 70, Robert Allenby and Adam Scott 71, Brad Hughes and Mark
Hensby 72, Peter Lonard, Aaron Baddeley, Brendan Jones and Geoff Ogilvy 73, Steve Allan 75, John Senden 77, Euan Walters 78, Andre Stolz 79.
Mediocre putting soured Allenby's season last year, but hope springs eternal.
"If my short game's there, I'll win this year," he said.
"That's the only thing stopping me from winning. I didn't do too much wrong today. I putted nicely and should have finished two shots better."
Lonard, who was on fire last year, winning back-to-back in Australia, salvaged a 73 thanks to an eagle at the easy par-five ninth, but he again was
left to scratch his head at his inability to bring his Australian form across the Pacific.
"I never do," he said.
Wie was perhaps marginally happier.
"I'm a bit emotionally tired after battling with the wind," she said.
"I wanted to shoot 68, but once I felt that wind, I thought par would be a good score."
Starting at the 10th tee, she was even after seven holes, but a bogey at the 16th started her troubles.
"I was hitting great shots and then, after the 16th hole, I don't know what happened," she said.
"I think it was momentum. I was having a string of bogeys and it was really important to stop it and start a new game.
"I could easily have made five or six more bogeys, but I hung in there."