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Wie receives invitation to US Women's Open

Michelle Wie received a special exemption on Monday to play in the U.S. Women's Open, the first time an amateur has been given a free pass to the biggest tournament in women's golf.

``She is an exceptional talent and has proven herself against the best players in the world,'' said Jeanne Myers, chairman of the USGA Women's Committee.

Wie, a 14-year-old from Hawaii who just finished the ninth grade, has become one of the biggest attractions in golf.

She missed the cut by one shot at the Sony Open in January after a 68 in the second round, the lowest score ever by a female on the PGA Tour. Then, she finished fourth in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the year on the LPGA Tour. Wie has finished in the top 20 in two other LPGA Tour events this year.

The special exemption makes her summer a little less hectic.

Wie will represent the United States in the Curtis Cup from June 12-13 in England, and she would have had to qualify for the Women's Open when she returned.

Now, the Hawaii teen gets a week off before defending her title in the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links. The Women's Open is the following week from July 1-4, at Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

A year ago, Wie became the youngest player to win an adult USGA championship, beating Virada Nirapathpongporn in the Public Links.

Wie qualified in a playoff for the Women's Open last year and tied for 39th during a contentious week at Pumpkin Ridge. She was paired for the first two rounds with Danielle Ammaccapane, who berated the teenager in the scoring trailer for poor etiquette.

The USGA previously gave exemptions to Dottie Pepper and Betsy King for the Women's Open.

Wie is only the fourth amateur to receive an exemption into any U.S. Open. Jay Sigel (1980) and Aaron Baddeley (2000) received exemptions to the U.S. Open, while Vinny Giles got an exemption to the U.S. Senior Open last year.

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