Wie's a big hit in Ottawa

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

As is the case in her home country, Michelle Wie is too young to drink in Ottawa bars. But that didn't stop her from visiting the beer garden at the CN Spectator Village late yesterday afternoon.

Even a bigger issue than her birth certificate was the fact 18-year-old Wie had not finished the 18th hole yet. She dropped by the patio to retrieve her tee shot. After a free lift, an amazing 3-wood from beside the concession sign and a solid sand shot, she missed the 7-foot birdie putt and wound up with a 1-under 71 on her card.

The final round score gave Wie a four-day total of 3-under, which left her in a tie for 12th and $36,475 in prize money from the 2008 CN Canadian Women's Open.

"I just drove the ball so well today, it's a shame that I didn't take advantage with my irons," said the Super Schoolgirl from Hawaii. "Everything else felt pretty solid. It was very frustrating. Overall, I hung in there and it was good that I shot an under-par round today."

While it was her best tournament of the year, it was not enough to secure Wie a LPGA Tour card for 2009. To do that, she would have needed at least a Top 5 finish at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club -- or to hole her tee shot on the 475 yard finishing hole.

Wie can club 'em, but not that far.

Summing up her day was the way she played the 410-yard 14th, the most difficult hole on the course. With her father B.J. standing on the other side of the ropes down the fairway, Wie absolutely crushed a drive 300 yards down the middle. Yes, 300 yards. It was enough to prompt a couple of loud "whoops" from B.J.

Proving that even the young sensations have a hard time recovering from a good shot, she left her sand wedge approach about 40 feet short of the hole. And her putt -- despite getting cheers from the always generous-with-praise Ottawa golf fans -- was eight feet off line.

She did drain the next one, though, and showed her relief with a fist pump.

"Obviously, I did want to be in the Top 5," said Wie. "I was playing good off the tee, I just didn't take advantage with my irons.

"Overall, I feel like my game is getting better and better."

Her six exemptions for the year used up, Wie will either have to go to Q-School, get hot on the few Monday qualifiers on the schedule or rely on the kindness of sponsors again to play on the LPGA Tour next year, if that is indeed what she decides she wants to do.

But just as she will one day be old enough to have a beer in any bar she wants, Wie will soon be a regular on the tour. And with the way she can hit a ball, she should be a star that's fun to watch.

INSIDE THE ROPES

It's almost a shock Paula Creamer finished as well as the even-par 72 she recorded yesterday for a share of eighth place. On the first hole, playing with her traditional Sunday pink ball, she drove into the rough, chipped out then watched her third shot roll to the back of the green. At that point, she dropped her club and hung her head, dejected. To some of us, pretty Paula appeared to be packing it in mentally before making her par shot on No. 1 ... Acting on a complaint from Se Ri Pak, security asked RCGA photographer John Major to leave the course midway through her back nine. Major claimed a mistake was made and he wasn't responsible for all the pre-shot clicking that had disrupted Pak. He was allowed back to do his job before the round was over ... Yani Tseng did a lot of crying after yesterday's 77 that saw her drop from first to third. She did some serious (and warranted) scowling after nobody could stop a young lad from running down a cart path and scuffling his shoes while she made her (missed) birdie attempt on 16 ...It's now safe to tell all of you commoners: The grass is greener AND softer inside the ropes. And were you guys warm? We had air conditioning on our side of the barrier.

FRINGE BENEFITS

Observation from Stickman: "Se Ri Pak is sneaky hot." Agreed ... At the conclusion of her round, Natalie Gulbis heard a young little boy yell out: "Can I have your glove?" In a blink, she ripped it off and tossed it him. A couple of seconds later, a man told the boy: "Keep that. It's going to be worth something on eBay." Hey kid, I'll give you $50 for it now ... Thought my dentist, a Hunt Club member, was supposed to be working the 15th hole this weekend? I assumed it was as a marshal. Maybe I misunderstood and he was doing root canals in a tent behind the grandstand.

NINETEENTH HOLE

Lorie Kane had talked about Lorena Ochoa's "imagination", but she meant on the greens. Ochoa's showed creativity in other parts of the game, too. On No. 3, locked up against a tree, she turned a club over and hit a shot left-handed. It went 25 yards or so, and she ended up saving par ... If you're wondering what kind of luck Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock brought his good friend Corina Kelepouris at the Hunt Club this week the answer is absolutely none. Not only did the 35-year-old from Drayton Valley, Alta., fail to make the cut, but she also finished dead last (by five shots) in the field with scores of 85-81.


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