Wie recovers from equipment mishap
It was a weird start to the week in Japan for Michelle Wie, as she realized the faces of her driver, 3-wood, and 5-wood had been dinged up so badly she needed to replace them with an emergency re-build.
But she got used to the new clubs quickly and bounced back with rounds of 65-70 over the weekend at the TOTO Japan Classic to finish at 5-under par for the tournament, this after opening with a 4-over-par 76.
“They got dinged up a little bit throughout the year from travelling. It was weird. It had never happened before,” said Wie of the issue with her clubs. “Thankfully the (Callaway) trailer was here and I got it sorted out. It was kind of trial and error the first day, but the second day I felt a lot better.”
Wie admitted that there was a ‘personal connection’ to her previous clubs, so even though they were rebuilt to spec with the same shaft and head, it still felt different to Wie.
“It took me a while to really trust my shots,” said Wie.
Wie took five weeks off golf this summer after having an emergency surgical procedure in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to remove her appendix, but she said she’s excited for the final events of the season.
“I just felt incredibly rusty and I’m being patient with myself now. I basically didn’t play for five weeks coming into Asia. The last two days I felt like my old self and felt really excited now,” explained Wie. “Hopefully I can end up strong.”
Nordqvist makes Sunday ace
Using a 4-iron from 193 yards on the par-3, 3rd hole Sunday, Anna Nordqvist made an ace – the lone hole-in-one of the week at the TOTO Japan Classic.
“It was a hard pin today, there on the left, and there was a left-to-right wind. I thought it came out just a little too far left. It came out drawing a little bit. But once I hit it, I knew I had plenty of club… and then it just went in,” said Nordqvist. “It was quite a nice surprise.”
Nordqvist finished alone in third place, her sixth top-10 finish of the year.
“I’m very happy,” she said of her season. “It’s been a bit of a rocky road but I have two wins including a major so I’m pretty happy. Finishing (well) here certainly brings a lot of confidence for the last two events of the year. Had a good season, a good Solheim Cup so I’m just looking forward to two more events.”
The ace was Nordqvist’s third on the LPGA Tour.
Ryu wanting to capture Player of the Year honours
Although it was the result So Yeon Ryu was looking for Sunday at the TOTO Japan Classic, she knows she’s got a chance for a bigger prize.
Ryu, who made a quadruple-bogey, 8, on the par-4, 14th Sunday en route to a 1-over par 73 and a tie for 33rd, sits No. 1 on the Rolex Rankings and leads the race for the Rolex Player of the Year.
“My goal is to win Player of the Year,” said Ryu. “No matter how it goes, I really want to do my best for the last tournament of the year.”
Ryu will take next week off to rest and rehab her ailing shoulder before playing the CME Group Tour Championship, the final event of the 2017 LPGA Tour schedule.
Ko feeling more confident
Lydia Ko is still not yet notched a victory yet in 2017, but she’s trending in the right direction with just two events left on the LPGA Tour’s schedule this season.
Ko, who made her lone bogey of the day on the par-4 18th, notched her fourth top-10 finish in her last seven events.
“Golf is such a confidence game. Week by week, the talent and the skills don’t really change much but when you get into a good rhythm of things, and when you feel good and feel positive, that’s when you start playing good,” said Ko. “(Playing well at the Indy Women in Tech Championship) was really the confidence booster for me, and I’ve been playing really solid since then. I played well back in New Zealand too. I’ve played solid and I think that’s been a huge key for me.”
Ko admitted she played solid on Sunday – she fired three matching rounds of 68 each day at the TOTO Japan Classic – and made just the lone mistake on the final hole of the day.
“I didn’t hit my irons very well but I gave myself enough opportunities and I putted pretty good. I did pretty much my worst shot of the day on the 18th tee and I wasn’t able to make up and down from my pitch shot, but I played solid and my iron shots weren’t as good as my score, so I’ll take it,” explained Ko. “I played a lot better than last year, which is another good thing.”
Henderson has sights set on CME Group Tour Championship
As an amateur, Brooke Henderson captured the individual title at the World Amateur Championship the last time she was in Japan.
Although there wasn’t a repeat this week – she ended up tied for 42nd at the TOTO Japan Classic – she’s got her eyes on the LPGA Tour’s final event of 2017 in her now adapted hometown of Naples, Florida.
“It’s really exciting to be in the position that I am,” she said of her position in the Race to the CME Globe. “At CME, I’ve played pretty well there the last two years so hopefully I can get four good rounds together to put myself into a good position on Sunday and hopefully good things will happen.”
Henderson sits fourth in the Race to the CME Globe.
She came into this week having notched top-10 finishes in four of her last six tournaments, including her second victory of the year at the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open.