Once the only teen sensation among female golfers, tall and regal and in training for greatness, Michelle Wie learned this week it might not be easy to stay at the top.
The 14-year-old failed in her bid to repeat as the US Women's Amateur Public Links champion yesterday, losing, 1 up, in Williamsburg, Va., when Ya-Ni Tseng made a 12-foot putt for birdie on the 36th hole to cap a dramatic comeback.
"I think that golf is getting better, and golf is getting younger," Wie said before heading to South Hadley for this week's US Women's Open, where she was scheduled to play a practice round at 9 a.m. today.
"Nothing really worked out for me today from the start to the end," Wie said, her eyes welling with tears. "I just played terribly.
"I made a lot of bogeys and gave a lot of strokes away."
Tseng, a 15-year-old from Taiwan, rallied from 4 down after 14 holes and 1 down with three to play. She also handed Wie the 15th hole by hitting her drive into the woods and having to hit again from the tee.
Wie then helped create her own demise, lipping out a 6-footer for a three-putt on the 16th green, allowing Tseng to get even. She also left her blast from a perfect lie in the sand 25 winding feet from the cup on the finishing hole, and then left her putt sitting on the right edge.
"I think I got a bit tired at the end," Wie said. "I couldn't keep my, what do you call it, concentration level up. I had a hard time putting. That was the main problem. I couldn't get anything close to the hole."
Coach Gary Gilchrist, who walked every hole with Wie throughout the grueling six-day event, said the loss would be valuable for Wie, who is well into her grooming for a professional career. "It's going to teach her to hang in, which she did to the end, and over time, she's going to have to understand that there's up and downs in the game of golf," he said.
PGA -- Adam Scott held off Charles Howell for a four-shot victory at the Booz Allen Classic in Potomac, Md. Howell, trailing by seven shots after six holes, made a charge with five straight birdies on the back nine. But Scott recovered with back-to-back birdies and saved par with a tough 11-foot putt at the 16th to avoid tying Greg Norman and three others for the biggest final-day collapse in PGA Tour history.
Scott closed with a 68 for a 21-under 263 total, tying the tournament and TPC at Avenel course record set by Billy Andrade and Jeff Sluman in 1991, when Andrade won in a playoff. Scott also broke the 36-hole Avenel record and tied the 54-hole mark Saturday.
Howell, who broke the 18-hole record with a 61 Thursday, finally faded when he three-putted the 17th and finished at 65 for a 267 total. Defending champion Rory Sabbatini shot a 66 to finish third with a 269, six strokes back.
Olin Browne, six behind and in second place going into the round, finished tied for seventh after shooting a 72.
LPGA -- Kim Saiki won for the first time in her 12 years on tour, shooting a 1-under 71 and overtaking Rosie Jones by four strokes at the Rochester LPGA in Pittsford, N.Y.Saiki, 38, finished 14-under 274 at the tree-lined Locust Hill course. In a thrilling final round, Jones went ahead three times before a decisive swing at the par-4 14th when she three-putted from 18 feet for a double bogey while Saiki curled in a 5-footer for birdie. Jones shot a 74 and dropped back into a tie for second with Mi Hyun Kim (72), a runner-up here in 2002 who picked up her 10th top-10 finish this year.
Annika Sorenstam managed only a 73 and fell into a tie for seventh, along with Candie Kung (74), a three-time Tour winner who was tied with Saiki after the second round.
European -- In Versailles, Jean-Francois Remesy became the first Frenchman in 35 years to win the French Open, shooting an even-par 71 for a seven-shot victory. Remesy finished at 12-under 272, with Richard Green and Nick O'Hern tied for second at 5-under 279.
Northeast Amateur -- Anthony Kim of La Quinta, Calif., beat Roy Moon of North Hills, Calif., on the fourth hole of a playoff to take the 43d Northeast Amateur Invitational at Wannamoisett CC in Rumford, R.I. Kim (2-over 71) and Moon (72) ended the tournament at 3-under 273, forcing sudden death.