DUBAI // Nothing beats a good education, but securing intellectual soundness may have cost Michelle Wie the chance of marking her first visit to the UAE with a victory at the Dubai Ladies Masters. Wie, still only 20 despite thrilling golf galleries for much of the past decade with her phenomenally long hitting, has been distracted from her main business this week by the demands of Stanford University - high up in the US academic institutions.
Her preparations for the ?500,000 (Dh2.6 million) tournament were hampered by examinations on practice day and she sat another electronic test on Friday before taking her final exam at 7am yesterday. That was 20 minutes before the first tee-off time, so it was just as well Wie had played herself in contention for the overall honours to allow her to go out at noon with French partner Jade Schaeffer.
Wie refused to make an issue of the side issue and spoke like a true academic when pressed on the subject after she finished three shots behind winner In Kyung Kim. "I took my final exams this morning and after that my mood just got exponentially better," she said. "I'm going to have a lot of fun tonight - and tomorrow." Asked whether she might have won her second professional tournament given a clear run at it, she responded: "That's hard to say. I feel I had a good run going until that last hole but I tried my hardest out there and gave it my all.
"If I fall a little short at the end, that's just too bad." A stunning run of three birdies from the 11th had the sizeable gallery following Wie thinking that an overnight deficit of six strokes could be retrieved and she reflected: "I felt pretty confident at the time. "I was putting the approach shots in to where I felt I could make the putts and that is always satisfying." firstname.lastname@example.org