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Michelle Wie qualifies for US Amateur Public Links

Michelle Wie became the first female player to qualify for an adult male U.S. Golf Association championship Tuesday, tying for first place in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur Public Links sectional qualifying tournament.

The 15-year-old star from Hawaii, second Sunday in the LPGA Championship in Maryland, matched Artie Fink Jr. of Altoona at 1-over 145 on the Cedarbrook Golf Course. Wie opened with a 1-under 71 and shot a 74 in the rain-delayed second round.

``The first couple of holes I was very tired and I can barely walk right now,'' Wie said. ``But then the adrenaline kicked in and it was very fun.''

Wie and Fink earned the only two spots available in the 85-player qualifier for the July 11-16 tournament at Shaker Run Golf Club in Lebanon, Ohio. The Public Links winner has traditionally received a spot in the Masters.

``I've wanted to do this since I started playing golf and got really serious about it,'' Wie said. ``The Masters was the first tournament I ever watched on television.''

Wie, the only female player in the field, had three holes left when rain forced the suspension of play for 45 minutes.

``I was hoping that we would finish today because I didn't want to come back tomorrow because I was very tired,'' Wie said. ``The rain delay really helped me because, before that, I wasn't very focused and I made a lot of bogeys.''

Wie, the 2003 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links winner at age 13, attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open this year, but failed to advance in a local qualifier.

She will play in the U.S. Women's Open next week in Colorado, and has received an exemption into the Women's British Open in late July.

Wie also will make her third appearance in a PGA Tour event when she plays in the John Deere Classic the week before the Public Links. The top finisher in the John Deere not otherwise exempt for the British Open will earn a spot the following week at St. Andrews, leaving open the long-shot possibility that Wie could earn a spot in the major championship and skip the Public Links.


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