- The Washington Times - Monday, June 5, 2006

1:04 p.m.

SUMMIT, N.J. (AP) - Michelle Wie was 1 under par through eight holes despite early putting problems today, trailed by a swelling gallery as she began her attempt to become the first woman to qualify for the U.S. Open.

The 16-year-old star from Hawaii clearly was the headline attraction of this 36-hole sectional qualifier at Canoe Brook Country Club.

She was followed by a crowd of about 2,000, typical for the final group in most LPGA tournaments. Most of the other 50 groups, many of which included the four dozen PGA Tour players in this sectional, were watched by just a handful of people.

Wearing a coral sweater and olive capri pants, Wie missed birdie putts of 9, 10 and 4 feet on the second, third and fourth holes early in her round. A tap-in birdie on No. 6, a par-5 at 485 yards, got her to 1 under.

Wie was competing against 152 men for 18 spots available in the Open at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y., in two weeks.

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