One step at a time in Michelle Wie's quest for the Masters.
Her hopes for next year ended yesterday when Clay Ogden birdied four of the first five holes and eased to a 5-and-4 victory in their quarterfinal match at the US Amateur Public Links in Lebanon, Ohio.
The 15-year-old high school junior needed to win the tournament to become the first woman to get an invitation to the Masters.
Instead, she'll have to settle for being the first woman to qualify for a men's USGA event. At least for now.
''Obviously, I'm disappointed, but it's not the end of the world," Wie said.
Wie shot rounds of 76 and 72 Monday and Tuesday to make the 64-player field for match play. She dispatched her opponents in her first three matches before running into Ogden, a junior at Brigham Young University.
''I don't feel like I have proved anything," she said.
Ogden was 4 up after the first five holes and never let up.
''You've got to keep the gas on and keep it going," Ogden said.
The lead swelled to 5 up at the turn when Wie's approach at No. 9 hit a tree and bounced back into a lake. It was one of the few mistakes she made.
''It's hard to beat birdies," Wie said. ''It wasn't like I was playing bad. I was losing with a lot of pars. He played really great."
She won her only hole when Ogden bogeyed No. 10, but Ogden came right back with a birdie to win the 11th and closed out the match three holes later.
On the deciding hole, Ogden missed the green, but his chip from the rough landed softly on the green and rolled to less than a foot from the pin. Wie conceded the putt and the two shook hands.
Asked what she learned from the match, Wie said, ''You have to make lots of birdies and give your opponent no chance."
Ogden, who lost to eventual champion Ryan Moore, 2 and 1 in the quarterfinals a year ago, beat University of Wisconsin junior Garrett Jones, 2 and 1, to advance to the 36-hole final today at Shaker Run Golf Club.
In the other semifinal, Martin Ureta of Chile needed 20 holes to eliminate medalist Anthony Kim, a first-team All-American at Oklahoma.
Several hundred people again followed Wie everywhere she went, cheering on every one of her shots and groaning when her putts slid past the hole. There was a smattering of applause when Ogden missed his par putt at No. 10.
Ogden said the crowd didn't make him nervous.
''That's just my demeanor," he said. ''I never get too excited over anything."
''He played amazing with those four birdies on the first five holes," Wie said. ''He played awesome today. There was really no room for error."
Wie travels to France for the Evian before playing in the Women's British Open, then will have some time off before starting her school year.
Will Wie make a decision soon about turning pro? ''No," she said, ''but you are going to find out when I do."
PGA -- David Edwards, winless on the Tour since 1993 and playing in only his sixth tournament of the year, shot a 9-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the B.C. Open in Endicott, N.Y.
LPGA -- Janice Moodie, a two-time Tour winner, shot a 3-under 69 for a 135 total that gave her a two-stroke lead over Il Mi Chung (68) and a three-shot advantage over Young-A Yang (68) and Angela Stanford (69) in the Canadian Women's Open in Halifax, Nova Scotia.