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Brent Kelley

Last Chance for Wie Begins Thursday

By August 13, 2008

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The Canadian Women's Open begins on Thursday with Michelle Wie in the field on the basis of her sixth and final LPGA Tour sponsor exemption of 2008. And so the CWO is Wie's last chance of 2008 to earn LPGA membership in 2009 without having to go through Qualifying School.

Wie is not a member of the LPGA and therefore does not appear on the tour's money list. However, if a non-member earns enough money that she would rank 80th or better on that money list, were she eligible, she gets a Tour card for the following season.

So that is what Wie has to do to avoid Q-School: Win enough money that she would finish 80th or better on the money list. Wie appeared primed to do just that, cruising along in the State Farm Classic back in July, finishing the third round in second place, before being disqualified for one of the bonehead moves of the year - forgetting to sign her scorecard following the second round.

So Wie has only around $26,000 in LPGA earnings this year. The player currently 80th on the money list has around $110,000, or $84,000 more than Wie. The player who was 80th on the money list in 2007 finished with $117,000 and change, or $91,000 more than Wie currently has.

To secure that tour card without going through Q-School, Wie probably needs to make about $100,000 at the Canadian Women's Open, which means finishing inside the Top 5. Is that doable? She certainly seemed on her way to a Top 5 finish at the State Farm.

But ... the CWO has a much stronger field than the State Farm had, and Wie is coming off a questionable outing at the PGA Reno-Tahoe Open a couple weeks ago. Had Wie not played in Reno, she would enter the CWO with three rounds in the 60s as her most recent tournament scores. Her confidence would likely be sky-high. Instead, she enters the CWO with rounds of 73 and 80 as her most recent tournament scores.

That might not matter at all. Wie is nothing if not resilient. It's the strength of field that matters. If Wie's game is as sharp as it was at the State Farm, a Top 5 finish - even a victory - is possible. If her game is off just a notch, Top 5 won't happen.

And Then There's This ...
On a totally unrelated note, our friends at oobgolf conducted an interview with yours truly recently, and the Q&A is posted here.

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