Michelle Wie remembers what the Solheim Cup did for her in 2009 as a wide-eyed 19-year-old. She went 3-0-1 that week, the United States won, and she carried the momentum into the rest of the season to post her first career win two and half months later at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
That’s why Wie wouldn’t be at all surprised to see 20-year-old Alison Lee use some first-time Solheim Cupper momentum of her own from a few weeks prior to post her first career win this week. Lee got off to a promising start in that regard Thursday with a first-round 6-under-65 to storm into a share of the lead with Xi Yu Lin after the first round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. Lee had just started settling in on Tour with top-10 performances in 4 out of 5 events leading up to the Solheim Cup.
“For sure, I think it can have a lot of the effect,” Wie said. “Same for Gerina [Piller], for a lot of the players. I always feel like even after 2013 Solheim Cup for me, that really turned things around,” Wie said. “You just have to play in such high pressure situations and try to pull shots that you usually don’t, so when you do actually pull them the confidence level raises.”
Added Lee: “I mean, not only did we win, but just to be able to be there and participate and be a part of something so great like that and to go into history with the biggest comeback ever, yeah, just be a part of it and experience all that definitely go down in the books. Definitely learned a lot from it. Especially seeing Gerina make that kind of putt, you know, gave me a lot of motivation to play well as well.”
Although Wie and Lee became tight over the course of the Solheim Cup two weeks ago and Wie would love to see her win, she just hopes it doesn’t come this week as Wie proved she’s got plans of her own in that regard Thursday with a first round 5-under-par 66. Wie’s back nine birdie barrage, five in six holes, was entirely similar to the one she went on two weeks ago in singles play at the Solheim Cup when she posted 8 birdies in 14 holes. Wie posted eight birdies again Thursday and is currently tied in third with Chella Choi, Shanshan Feng, and Yani Tseng.
“Yeah, since Evian it’s been feeling really good just health-wise. Not even game or anything,” Wie said. “Just feels so good to be out here and not thinking, Oh, this swing is going to hurt my hip and my ankle. Just going out there and being actually able to hit balls and hit golf shots and play the way that I know I can.”