The LPGA Lotte Championship tees off Wednesday morning at Ko Olina Golf Club. The tournament marks a triumphant homecoming for 24-year-old Michelle Wie.
The Punahou graduate is off to her best start as a professional, recording six top-16 finishes to open the season, including a runner-up major finish at the Kraft Nabisco Championship two weeks ago.
“I’ve just been working hard the last couple of years,” Wie told KHON2. “Obviously I went through quite a bit of a struggle, and I’ve just been trying to improve a little bit here and there every day, trying not to do anything too drastic. I’ve just been patient. A lot of times it was hard being patient. I knew it was getting better and better, it just wasn’t showing. I feel like I’m improving a little bit here and there which is good.”
The Stanford alum leads the tour with a 69 scoring average, posting 21 of her 24 rounds under-par.
“I just think about not putting so much pressure on myself, just go out there and have fun and give it my 120 percent,” Wie said. “All the top women golfers are here and it’s going to be a tough field to beat, but hopefully being in Ko Olina, one of my home courses, will help.”
Speaking of fun, Wie says she’s been enjoying her time back home. “I flew out straight after the Kraft, spent the whole week here, doing pretty much nothing and eating a lot of food,” Wie said. “I immediately met up with my best friends from home. A lot of my friends still live here and the island’s so small so you walk everywhere and see everyone. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Wednesday’s opening round will mark Wie’s seventh LPGA event in Hawaii. Her round one tee time is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. from the 10th hole.
The four-day event will be televised on the Golf Channel.