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GOLF ROUNDUP

Wie looks ahead after falling short

Michelle Wie made the cut, then came up short. Now South Korea's ''big sister" wants to take the next step.

Wie shot a 2-over-par 74 yesterday to finish 12 strokes behind winner Prom Meesawat of Thailand at the rain-shortened SK Telecom Open in Incheon, South Korea, where she made the cut in a men's tournament for the first time in eight attempts.

''I did my best, but the result was not as satisfying as I would have liked," said the 16-year-old Wie, who finished tied for 35th. ''But the most important thing is that I tried my best."

Wie, whose parents were born in South Korea, had two birdies and four bogeys for a 54-hole, 3-under 213 at the Asian Tour event.

When Wie, known by her Korean name Wie Sung-mi, played the third hole Friday, a toddler in a flowery dress shouted encouragement for ''on-ni [big sister]."

The Hawaiian-born Wie became the second woman to make the cut at a men's tournament in South Korea. LPGA star Se Ri Pak tied for 10th in the lower-tier KPGA Tour SBS Pro-Golf Championship in 2003.

Wie shot a 3-under 69 in the second round Friday to make the cut by five strokes and improve on her opening 70. She started the final round at 3 under, six strokes off the pace.

''I was really, really happy I've passed the first stage," Wie said. ''Now I want to make the next step."

Wie heads to the US Open qualifying round in Hawaii this month. She will attempt to make the cut in two PGA tournaments -- the John Deere Classic in July, where last year she fell two strokes short of the cut, and the 84 Lumber Classic in September.

''I have to practice my iron shots more," Wie said. ''I have to work on them until the John Deere Classic."

Meesawat finished with a 68 and Indian Jeev Milkha Singh and Lee Seung-ho of South Korea shot 70s to share second place at 12 under, one stroke ahead of defending champion K.J. Choi (65).

Heavy rain forced the cancellation of the third round.

Wie opened her final round with birdies on Nos. 2 and 3, moving her to 7 under. Two bogeys later and she was back where she started. On No. 4, Wie added a penalty stroke when her tee shot fell short of the green and rolled back across a hazard line within a few feet of the water. LPGA -- Cristie Kerr thought all week she would leave here a winner. Then she started the final round with what she called a magical shot, a 50-foot putt from the fringe that went up and over a ridge and into the hole for birdie.

With that start, Kerr overcame a four-stroke deficit to win her seventh title, closing with a 5-under 67 for a two-stroke victory over Lorena Ochoa (66), Pat Hurst (68), and Angela Stanford (73) in the Franklin (Tenn.) American Mortgage Championship.

''I just got the feeling it was going to be my day after that when you do something magical like that," Kerr said.

Kerr had five birdies in her bogey-free round to finish with a tournament-record 19-under 269.

Champions -- Brad Bryant won the Regions Charity Classic in Hoover, Ala., for his second Tour victory of the year, closing with an eagle, birdie, and par for an 8-under 64 and a two-stroke victory over Mark McNulty.

Bryant hovered within striking distance with a bogey-free tournament before finally overtaking McNulty on No. 17. Bryant finished at 17-under 199.

McNulty, who had a three-stroke lead through 15 holes, found water on No. 17, leading to a double bogey. That left an opening for Bryant, who birdied the hole for a one-stroke edge.

McNulty could only watch with a grimace as he sent the ball back into the water on No. 18. McNulty bogeyed the hole for a 67, and Bryant finished with a par.

European -- Francesco Molinari won the Italian Open in Milan by four strokes after shooting a 7-under 65, becoming the first Italian to win the tournament since 1980.

Molinari, 23, finished at 23-under 265, ahead of second-place Anders Hansen (66) and Jarmo Sandelin (65).

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