Nine year wait was worth it, says Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie finally claimed the first major title of her career with a two-shot victory in the US Women's Open that will go a long way to silencing her critics.
Many thought the American was destined for greatness when she finished in a tie for ninth on her major debut at the Kraft Nabisco Championship as a 13-year-old in 2003, and then almost made the halfway cut when competing against the men at the Sony Open in her native Hawaii.
She largely failed to live up to her initial promise in the ensuing years, with injuries and a lack of form taking their toll, but has experienced something of a renaissance in recent months, and her triumph at Pinehurst in North Carolina is her biggest success to date.
The 24-year-old led the tournament since day two and came into Sunday with a three-shot advantage, one she would not relinquish as a final round level-par 70 helped her finish on two under overall, two shots clear of compatriot Stacy Lewis, whose late charge proved too little, too late.
Lewis' closing 66 included eight birdies and four bogeys in an entertaining 18 holes and was the equal best round of the day, but the first-round leader's scores of 73 and 74 on Friday and Saturday undermined her title challenge.
"Oh my God, I can't believe this is happening," Wie said.
"Obviously, there are moments of doubt in there. But obviously, I had so many people surrounding me. They never lost faith in me. That's pushed me forward.
"Life is just so ironic," added Wie, who was 15 when she was tied for the lead after 54 holes in the 2005 US Women's Open before fading and nearly won three majors when she was 16.
"Without your downs, without the hardships, I don't think you appreciate the ups as much as you do. I think the fact that I struggled so much, the fact that I kind of went through a hard period of my life, the fact that this trophy is right next to me, it means so much more to me than it ever would have when I was 15."