ShopRite LPGA Classic: Michelle Wie turns in best performance of her season
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - Michelle Wie didn't win the ShopRite LPGA Classic, but she walked away with her best finish of the season and a confidence boost Sunday afternoon.
Wie shot a 3-over-par 74 on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club and finished tied for ninth with a 54-hole total of 2-over 215 - six shots back of winner Karrie Webb.
Wie's previous best finish this season was a tie for 28th at the LPGA Lotte Championship in Hawaii last month.
Wie, 23, hadn't finished in the top 10 in an LPGA Tour event since she placed eighth at the Safeway Classic last August, her only her top-10 finish of 2012. She's won just twice in her LPGA career with the last one coming in 2010.
"I fought hard," Wie said. "I'm pretty proud of the way I played this week."
Wie played in the same group with Webb.
"Winds were insane today! Was amazing to watch Karrie hang in there," Wie tweeted after her round.
Wie contended in all three Classic rounds. She shot a first-round 68 and was two shots out of the lead Friday. But wind howled off Reeds' Bay on Saturday and Sunday, making the course play as tough as it ever has. Wie began Sunday tied for ninth, five shots back of second-round leader Shanshan Feng.
"It was really mentally and physically challenging playing in the wind," Wie said.
Only one American - Gerina Piller (tied for fifth with a 1-over 214) - finished ahead of Wie.
Fellow Americans Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer both shot 3-under 68s to move from a tie for 58th to a tie for 13th.
Despite her lack of professional success, Wie remains a crowd favorite. She first played the Classic as 13-year-old in 2003, finishing tied for 52nd. Wie and Webb easily drew Sunday's largest galleries. The crowd filled the grandstand around the 18th hole as Wie and Webb finished their rounds.
"The crowd is great here," Wie said. "Everyone is really energetic. They love watching us play and we just really (feel) welcomed here."
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