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November 21, 2009

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Ochoa has 1-shot lead, Wie limps out in pain

MICHELLE Wie withdrew from the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship because of a sprained left ankle on Thursday, a few hours after Lorena Ochoa shot a 6 under 66 to take a one-shot lead over Reilley Rankin.

The 20-year-old Wie, fresh off her first US LPGA victory last week at Ochoa's tournament in Mexico, shot a 72 in the afternoon. She limped through her round on the ankle that she sprained during the Solheim Cup in August.

"I wanted to do everything I could do to fight through the injury," Wie said in a statement. "It bothered me last week in Mexico, but I was able to play through the pain. I realized today that I wouldn't be able to continue to play through it."

Wie drew the largest galleries at the Houstonian Golf and Country Club in Richmond, Texas, and she was 3 under through 12 holes. Her ankle gave way on the 13th tee, and she stumbled backward, sliced her tee shot into the rough and took her first bogey.

She bent over in apparent pain on No. 14 and slipped again hitting her tee shot to the par-3 17th. Wie smacked her right leg and yelled an obscenity as the ball sailed right and rolled into the water. She made a double bogey to slip back to even par.

Wie went for treatment after her round and withdrew about an hour later.

"I want to make sure that I'm being smart with it," Wie said. "I will return home to have it looked at by my doctors and follow their advice for treatment."

The first round was suspended because of darkness, with four groups still on the course.

Ochoa teed off in the morning, before the wind picked up. She was four shots ahead of Shin Ji-yai (70) on the leaderboard, but the 21-year-old South Korean leads Ochoa by eight points in the race to become the tour's player of the year. To earn the honor for the fourth straight year, Ochoa must win this week or finish no worse than third and hope Shin places out of the top 10.

Shin and Ochoa started on the back nine and both were 2 under after three holes. Shin added birdies at Nos. 13 and 15 to move to 4 under.

Both players bogeyed the difficult 17th, then picked up birdies early on their second nines. Ochoa added birdies on Nos. 6, 8 and 9, capping her round with a 15-foot putt and a modest fist pump.


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