- Associated Press - Monday, June 23, 2014

PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) - Michelle Wie followed Martin Kaymer to victory at Pinehurst No. 2.

First literally, then figuratively.

When Kaymer made his leisurely stroll up the 18th fairway seven days earlier on his way to sealing the U.S. Open, Wie walked right along with his pairing as a spectator.

“I thought to myself, I want to be here on Sunday,” Wie said. “I want to feel this exact thing.”

A week later, she did.

And now Kaymer and Wie will be forever linked as the champions of Pinehurst’s first-of-its-kind double-dip of U.S. Opens.

Wie’s two-stroke victory over top-ranked Stacy Lewis on Sunday at the U.S. Women’s Open came with a little more stress than Kaymer’s nine-shot romp - especially after Wie’s double bogey on the 16th.

But her long birdie putt a hole later effectively locked it up, and turned her walk up the final fairway into something to savor.

“I walked (the previous) Sunday with Rickie (Fowler) and Martin. I wanted so badly to be in that position, just to kind of have a leisurely walk up to 18 and make a par to win kind of thing,” Wie said. “And I feel so lucky. … It felt so special. I kind of wish I could do it over and over again, it’s just so much fun.”

This was the big victory the sport had been waiting for - maybe even needed.

“I don’t think you can script it any better,” Lewis said. “I think it’s great for the game of golf. I think it’s even better for women’s golf. … This has been such a long time coming for her.”

No longer is Wie that precocious pre-teen prodigy who qualified for her first pro event as a 12-year-old and competed against the men on the PGA Tour.

Now, she’s all grown up, with four career victories on her resume. She’s No. 1 on the LPGA’s money list, the tour’s biggest star.

And she finally has a major trophy to go with it all.

“U.S. Opens have been such a special part of my life, just because I get to see everyone again,” Wie said. “It’s like seeing old family and friends. But, yeah, just everything kind of what I’ve been through, all the ups and all the downs, this is definitely, it’s all worth it.”

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