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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 October 2005, 23:29 GMT 00:29 UK
Wie disqualified in Sorenstam win
FINAL LEADERBOARD
Michelle Wie
US unless stated
-18 A Sorenstam (Swe)
-10 P Creamer
-9 Gl Park (Kor)
-7 M Lee (Kor), N Gulbis, C Kerr
Michelle Wie was disqualified on her professional debut after taking a bad drop as Annika Sorenstam won the Samsung World Championship.

Wie, 16, had finished fourth on eight under after a 74 but was disqualified for dropping closer to the hole and then not declaring it in round three.

World number one Sorenstam fired a final-round 69 to reach 18 under and eclipse a 20-strong elite field.

Star rookie Paula Creamer, 19, was second, one ahead of Gloria Park.

Wie's finishing position would have yielded a first paycheque of $53,126 (29,514) but after Sunday's final round LPGA Tour officials, alerted by a spectator, took her out to the seventh hole to discuss Saturday's drop.

Wie had hit a five-wood into an unplayable lie beneath a Gold Lantana bush and dropped away from the bush for a one-stroke penalty, then chipped to 15 feet and made the par.

But rules officials studied a videotape of the incident after play had finished on Sunday and disqualified her.

"It was 12 to 15 inches closer to the hole," explained official Robert Smith.

"Because of that, she broke Rule 20-7 and the penalty is two shots. But because she had not declared the penalty before she signed the scorecard, then I'm sad to say that it is a disqualification.

I am really sad but rules are rules and I respect them
Michelle Wie

"I did look at the incident on videotape, but it was inconclusive. It is just a pity that the spectator didn't report it yesterday and we could have sorted it out before she signed the card."

An emotional Wie, who played 24 LPGA events before turning pro, said: "They said it was three inches ahead but it looked fine to me.

"I am really sad but rules are rules and I respect them.

"I've been through so many unplayables, I know what to do.

"But I learned a great lesson. From now on, I'll call a rules official no matter where it is, whether its three inches or 100 yards.

"Greg [Johnston, Wie's caddy] and I were talking when I took the drop and he said 'make sure you don't drop nearer', but I thought it looked fine to me. I'm very disappointed that my first event finished this way."

Annika Sorenstam
I'm not going to give it away [the world number one ranking] easily
Annika Sorenstam

Sorenstam, meanwhile, must have thought she had succeeded in preventing Wie's debut from overshadowing her quest to win the title for a fifth time.

She shrugged off three rain delays and even finished with a double bogey but her victory equalled an LPGA record of five wins in the same event, set by Mickey Wright in the Sea Island Open between 1957 and 1963.

She also clinched her eighth title of the season, eighth money list title, eighth Player of the Year honour and more than $2m in earnings for the fifth consecutive year.

"I'm very proud of the way I played and I played four solid rounds of golf," said Sorenstam, who refused to acknowledge that Wie's presence had upped the ante.

But she added: "This was a week with a little bit extra on the line.

"There was the five wins, the Player of the Year title and so on.

"And there is no doubt that the young players will take over eventually, but I'm not going to give it away [the world number one ranking] easily."

Scotland's Catriona Matthew, fourth overnight, ended tied for seventh after a disappointing 75 for six under at Bighorn Golf Club.

Wie returns to Punahou School in Honolulu and will next play in the Casio World Open in Japan in the last week of November, her sixth time competing against the men.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Michelle Wie



SEE ALSO
New pro star
06 Oct 05 |  Golf
Michelle's millions
05 Oct 05 |  Golf


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