(AP) Michelle Wie was among 1,236 players who have entered the U.S. Women's Open, the first time she will go through open qualifying for a major since she was in the eighth grade.
The USGA released the list of approved entries Thursday. It was the fifth consecutive year the number exceeded 1,000, and this year's number was only slightly lower than the 1,251 entries a year ago.
The Women's Open will be held June 26-29 at Interlachen outside Minneapolis.
Wie, now a freshman at Stanford, submitted her entry last week, well before the Tuesday deadline. She is exempt from the first stage of local qualifying because she played in the U.S. Women's Open last year, withdrawing during the second round.
Once a promising phenom, Wie's career has been in a nose dive since she tried to play through injuries to both wrists last year. She missed the cut or withdrew from five LPGA Tour events, and finished near the bottom at two other events.
Wie has played only once this season, tying for 72nd at the Fields Open in Hawaii.
She was 13 when she won a playoff in sectional qualifying to earn a spot in the 2003 U.S. Women's Open at Pumpkin Ridge, where she tied for 39th. The USGA awarded her a special exemption the following year, primarily because the money she would have earned on the LPGA Tour had she not been an amateur would have been enough to qualify.
Wie tied for 13th to earn an exemption to the 2005 U.S. Open, and her popularity was such that the LPGA Championship changed its criteria in 2005 to allow for one amateur - Wie - to compete. The Honolulu native continued to play well enough to earn invitations and exemptions to the four majors in 2006 and 2007.
Now, the U.S. Women's Open might be the only major she is eligible to play - provided she qualifies.
Wie has chosen the Woodmont Country Club in Maryland as her sectional qualifying site on June 9. That's where most LPGA Tour players will try to qualify, and it will offer the most spots to the Women's Open.
The USGA said the youngest person to enter was Samantha Wagner, an 11-year-old from Easton, Pa.
Sixty players already are exempt from qualifying, led by defending champion Cristie Kerr. Anyone finishing among the top 35 on the LPGA Tour money list after the Ginn Tribute on June 1 also will be allowed to skip qualifying.