(Reuters) – Michelle Wie West, in solely her second match after an almost two-year absence, confirmed she will be able to nonetheless compete with the sport’s finest as she made an encouraging begin to the primary major of the LPGA season on Thursday in Rancho Mirage, California.
Wie West, who was out of motion whereas on maternity depart and recovering from a wrist damage, fired a two-under-par 70 on the ANA Inspiration to sit 4 pictures off the early first-round lead at Mission Hills Country Club.
“I am just happy to see my name on the first page of the leaderboard,” stated Wie West. “That’s really special to me. Been a long time since I’ve seen that.”
For Wie West, who has been taking part in Mission Hills since 2003 when she was a 13-year-old novice, it was a exceptional turnaround contemplating she missed the minimize final week within the first occasion of her comeback.
Wie West made a bogey on her first gap, however obtained again to even par when she practically aced the par-three 14th. She made three consecutive birdies after the flip however dropped a shot on the par-four sixth.
“Especially after last week, it was really good to see those putts roll in,” stated Wie West, who counts the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open amongst her 5 LPGA Tour wins.
“Put myself in some interesting spots today, but really proud of how I grinded it out out there.”
Wie West nonetheless has loads of work forward if she is to safe an inconceivable victory this week and make the winner’s conventional leap into Poppie’s Pond.
But it was a exceptional first step that even Wie West probably didn’t suppose was attainable 21 months in the past when she broke down and walked away from reporters whereas discussing her taking part in future in what was the ultimate occasion earlier than her break.
“It was fun today making putts out here. I have a lot of great memories, my first one being 18 years ago,” stated Wie West.
“This place is really special to me and I’m just glad to be here.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, modifying by Ed Osmond)