Wie withdraws from LPGA event with ankle injury

BY foxsports • November 20, 2009

Michelle Wie couldn't take the pain one week after taking the spotlight at Lorena Ochoa's tournament.

Ochoa is back on center stage now, trying to steal the player of the year honor away from Jiyai Shin at the LPGA Tour Championship.

Wie withdrew from the season-ending event Thursday because of a sprained left ankle, hours after Ochoa shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-shot lead over Reilley Rankin.

Wie needed this


Michelle Wie's victory is big for her, but it may be even bigger for the golf world, Golfweek says.

Ochoa is four shots ahead of Shin (70) on the leaderboard, but the 21-year-old South Korean leads Ochoa by eight points (156-148) in the race to become the tour's player of the year. To earn the distinction for the fourth consecutive season, Ochoa must win this week or finish no worse than third and hope Shin places out of the top 10.

"It's very important to get a good start and give myself a good chance," Ochoa said. "That's all I was trying to do."

The 20-year-old Wie, fresh off her first LPGA Tour victory at Ochoa's tournament in Mexico, shot a 72 on Thursday. She limped through her round on the gimpy ankle that she sprained during the Solheim Cup in August. She went for treatment after Thursday's round and withdrew about an hour later.

"I wanted to do everything I could do to fight through the injury," Wie said in a statement. "It bothered me last week in Mexico, but I was able to play through the pain. I realized today that I wouldn't be able to continue to play through it."

Ochoa teed off in the morning, before the wind picked up across the Houstonian Golf and Country Club.

Shin and Ochoa started on the back nine and both were 2 under after three holes. Shin added birdies at Nos. 13 and 15 to move to 4 under.

Both players bogeyed the difficult 17th, then picked up birdies early on their second nines. Ochoa added birdies on Nos. 6, 8 and 9, capping her round with a 15-foot putt and a modest fist pump.

Shin bogeyed two of her last four holes as the wind strengthened. She is trying to sweep the rookie and player awards. Nancy Lopez is the only player to win both in the same season, accomplishing the feat in 1978.

Shin and Ochoa also are in a virtual dead heat for the Vare Trophy, given to the player with the season's lowest scoring average.

"I played 2 under, which was not bad in the wind," Shin said. "Lorena, she played really good, a 66. But we still have three more rounds. I will just focus on my game and try my best for three more days."

Rankin also teed off early and finished her 67 before the wind became a factor. The 30-year-old has missed seven cuts in 17 starts this season before matching her best round of the year on Thursday.

"It was nothing spectacular," Rankin said. "I just tried to stay patient and not worry about how I hit it. I'm just giving myself chances and not getting too frustrated."

Wie drew the largest galleries and she was 3 under through 12 holes. But her ankle gave way on several tee shots on the back nine.

After pulling out of the tournament, Wie said she wanted to take a careful approach to her injury.

"I want to make sure that I'm being smart with it," she said. "I will return home to have it looked at by my doctors and follow their advice for treatment."

The first round was suspended because of darkness at 5:25 p.m., with four groups still on the course.

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