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Back to school again for Michelle Wie

If Michelle Wie had not been trading shots with the PGA Tour elite at the $4.8 million Sony Open on Friday, the 15-year-old golfing prodigy would have been at high school studying for exams.

The Hawaiian teenager still learned plenty at Honolulu's Waialae Country Club this week, even though she missed the cut by seven strokes after returning a four-over-par 74 for a two-round total of 149, nine over.

It was a bitterly disappointing finish to an event that had held so much promise.

Last year at this tournament, a 14-year-old Wie grabbed the spotlight with a second-round 68, the lowest score by a female competing against men, but missed the cut by one shot.

This year there was little drama as Wie looked exactly what she is, a supremely talented but inexperienced youngster struggling to play with golf's elite men in challenging conditions.

Wie wrote off the event as a valuable learning experience.

"Missing the cut by one last year I was so close, I kind of thought I would play better," said Wie. "I think last year everything went too easy.

"This year I had a tougher time but I learned a lot. When you play bad you learn a lot more I think."

After battling to an opening five-over 75, Wie left herself too much work in her bid to become the first female to make the cut at a PGA Tour event since Babe Zaharias in 1945.

A triple bogey on the par-four sixth on Friday effectively ended her hopes.

As the round continued, the huge galleries that followed Wie shouted encouragement but could not lift her spirits or game.

"I could see her hanging her head," said Ernie Els, who played a practice round with the teenager. "She's got to remember there is no perfect round of golf.

"She's just got to start playing the game. She's got more talent than anyone I've ever seen.

"She's matured a lot but she's got to play some golf, forget the technical stuff and just play golf."

While there has been endless praise for Wie this week, she has also come under intense criticism for not concentrating on playing LPGA Tour events and chasing a first career title.

Wie said she would now focus her considerable skill and energy on that challenge.


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