ROCKVILLE, MD (AP) Despite playing 36 holes on a humid day with temperatures nearly reaching triple digits, Michelle Wie was still able to flash a big smile as she sat down with the media.
Qualifying for the U.S. Women's Open will do that.
Playing on two different courses, Wie carded rounds of 70 and 67 and her 137 total was the second best score on the day and more than enough to qualify her for the 2008 Open, to be played later this month at the Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn.
``I think I did pretty well. It feels good to be playing good again,'' said Wie, who has struggled with her game for much of the last year. ``There were a lot of shots that I left out there today with the putting and a couple of errant tee shots in the middle, but other than that I'm pretty pleased with my round and I'm really happy to be playing at the U.S. Open.''
A sore wrist hurt in March and studies at Stanford University have limited her to just two tournaments on the LPGA Tour this year.
Wie's first 18, played at Woodmont Country Club, was an up and down one with five birdies and four bogeys. After starting out with birdies on her second and third holes, some wayward drives left her at 2-over with five holes to play, but she birdied three of the last four holes.
``I felt like in the middle of the round, my round could have gone anywhere,'' said Wie. It could have gone to the bad direction, but fortunately I pulled it back together and made a couple of good shots, good putts, and I felt like I saved a lot of really great pars.''
The venue shifted a few miles away to Manor Country Club, but Wie continued to show improvement with her irons that helped lead to another strong close.
Finishing on the front nine, Wie pushed her tee shot on number seven into the trees and after chipping back into the fairway, she smoked an iron from 160 yards to within five feet, which she tapped in for par. That was followed up by a strong iron shot off the tee on a 157 yard Par-3 which she left 20 inches from the cup for a birdie. For her final act, Wie smacked an approach shot on a par-5 to within five feet for another birdie as she snagged one of the 35 spots open to the 121 players at sectional.
Wie, who was one shot behind Kelli Kuehne's 136, is regaining her confidence. She finished in sixth place at the Ladies German Open last week.
``When you are struggling week after week, it takes a toll on your confidence,'' said Wie. ``Nobody really gave up on me. My managers, David (Leadbetter, her coach), my parents, my trainer, everyone, they never gave up on me. They are always telling me you are going to get through it and you are going to get better.''
Wie does not anticipate going to the U.S. Open site prior to the tournament and will return to Florida where she and Leadbetter have been working hard on her game, spending 9-12 hours a day practicing. Asked if she took time to watch last week's LPGA event, Wie said the bit of television she watched was spent watching a different sporting event.
``Actually I was kind of busy watching the NBA playoffs,'' said Wie. ``I'm a big fan of Kevin Garnett.''