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November 17, 2009

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Wie claims first pro tour win

IMMEDIATELY after tapping in Sunday to win her first LPGA Tour title and fulfill a decade of promise, Michelle Wie pulled the ball from the 18th hole, looked up to the sky and let out a big sigh of relief.

After all the near misses, after all the expectations, her long wait was over. "It's definitely off by my back," Wie said. "I think that hopefully life will be a lot better, but I still have a lot of work to do."

Wie closed with a 3-under 69 for a two-stroke victory over Paula Creamer in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico. Wie finished off the victory in style, hitting a greenside bunker shot within a foot on the final hole to set up a birdie.

Solheim Cup teammates Morgan Pressel and Creamer showered Wie with beer on the 18th green after the winning putt.

"Just seeing them come out and pour beer all over me, it was a great feeling," Wie said. "I've always seen it on TV and I've always wanted people to pour beer on me. It was as great as I thought it was."


Her parents, dad B.J. and mother Bo, were there, too, for an embrace.

"We have been through a lot as a family, and it's just so great that they are here to share my highs and to keep me up from the lows, as well," Wie said.

Wie earned US$220,000 to push her season winnings just over US$900,000. The win came in her 65th LPGA Tour event - she had finished second six times.

Wie won the 2003 USGA Women's Amateur Public Links, her only significant victory until Sunday.

"Right now it feels fantastic," Wie said. "It's great year. I went through some ups and downs ... And obviously this tournament is the icing on the cake."

"Wow ...... never thought this would feel THIS great!!!!" she posted on Twitter.

Pressel (67), Shin Ji-yai (71) and Cristie Kerr (72) were three back.

Wie first qualified for a USGA event at age 10 and played an LPGA event when she was 12.

In Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Stephen Ames won his second title in three years at the Children's Miracle Network Classic on Sunday, beating George McNeill and Justin Leonard in a playoff.

Ames was calm and cool on greens that were too slick for most of the field on a sun-baked day at Disney World. He finished with an 8-under 64 for the clubhouse lead, watching as McNeill (67) and Leonard (67) failed to pass him.

Leonard rimmed out a 16-foot putt for the win in regulation, even beginning to pump his fist in celebration only to watch the ball bounce off. He twice left putts short when he was eliminated on the first playoff hole.


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