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Michelle Wie takes sponsors excemption into World Championship

Michelle Wie accepted a sponsor invitation on Wednesday to play in the LPGA Samsung World Championship, a 20-player event in October at which she will celebrate her 18th birthday.

The US teen star of Korean heritage has been sidelined since February by a wrist injury but should be fine to play here October 11-14 at Bighorn Golf Club, in the same event where she made her professional debut in 2005.

"It's an honor to be invited," Wie said. "There is nothing like going back to where my professional career started, and playing against the best players in the world. I'm excited for the opportunity."

Wie turns 18 on the first day of the 875,000-dollar tournament.

Wie, who plans to spend more time at LPGA events this year rather than bidding to make the cut in a men's PGA Tour event, shared 13th in her first appearance in the World event as a 14-year-old amateur in 2004.

In 2005, Wie's pro debut ended when she signed an incorrect scorecard after her third round.

Wie, who shared 17th at the event last year, will be joined by defending champion and world number one Lorena Ochoa of Mexico and US second-year sensation Morgan Pressel, who won the Nabisco, 2007's first major LPGA title.

Top US and European money winners and other major champions will also qualify for the field.

In eight LPGA events last year, Wie had six top-five finishes, including shares of third at the US Women's Open and fifth at the LPGA Championship.


May 17, 2007

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