Wie keeps up with leaders at Dubai event

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Wie keeps up with leaders at Dubai event

DUBAI - American Michelle Wie held her own on the opening day of the Dubai Ladies Masters despite fantastic performances from a mother of 10 months and a mom-to-be.

The 20-year-old world number 12 started her campaign in the 500,000 euro ($737,000) season-ending tournament with a three-under par 69, which gave her a tie of fifth place, three shots behind leader Maria Hjorth of Sweden.

The 36-year-old Hjorth, who became a mother for the first time in February this year, made one eagle and five birdies in her round of 66, which was two shots better than Paraguay’s Julieta Granada, Thailand’s Titiya Plucksataporn and Korean Amy Yang. For a while it looked like Finland’s Minea Blomqvist, who is expecting her first child in April, would be the one to challenge Hjorth.

But after being five-under through 10 holes, the Finn dropped shots coming in to settle for a share of fifth place along with Wie and France’s Virginie Lagoutte-Clement.

Wie said the breezy conditions at the Majlis course of Emirates Golf Club reminded her of Hawaii and were one of the reasons why the scoring did not get too low.

“It got really breezy. Kind of reminded me of home a little bit with the weather. It definitely was challenging, a couple of the holes with the wind like that,” said Wie.

Starting early from the 10th tee, the American could not take much advantage of the three par fives on the back nine of the course. After missing a couple of birdie opportunities early on, Wie made the turn at two-under when she finally sank a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-five 18th. On the back nine, she dropped a couple of shots with two wayward drives on the first and the eighth holes, but made three birdies as well to close with a 69.

“A couple of loose tee shots on the front nine, but I feel pretty good. I just hung in there and grinded it out,” she added. AFP

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